Coroner’s inquest into fatal police shooting begins


WATCH: A coroner’s inquest into the fatal police shooting of Victoria man Rhett Mutch began Monday. Calvin To has details from the proceedings. 

A series of miscommunications between a 911 call taker, a police dispatcher and officers responding took place shortly before Rhett Mutch’s death, court heard on Monday.

The day’s proceedings were part of a coroner’s inquest into the fatal police shooting of Victoria man Rhett Mutch, 20, in November 2014.

The inquest heard from several witnesses, including the 911 call taker who answered the call from Mutch’s mother, Marney Mutch, the police dispatcher involved in the case and a police sergeant in charge at the scene. 

Present were a jury of five women and two men, as well as lawyers for the Victoria Police Department, the officer who fired the shot and the coroner’s office.

The inquest heard that the 911 call taker did not pass on information regarding Marney Mutch’s pleas for police to not use guns (“You don’t need a gun,”) possibly because he missed hearing them in the course of his actions. The inquest also heard from Sergeant Greg Holmes,  a crisis intervention and de-escalation specialist from the Victoria Police Department and the officer in charge of the scene, who said that knowing this information would not have changed his actions. Holmes told The inquest that his primary goal was to ensure the safety of Marney Mutch.

Holmes said upon arriving at the scene, he did not know that Marney Mutch had already been brought out of the house by officers.

He said he was initially not aware of what had happened when the call was made by other officers for an ambulance following the shooting of Mutch by another officer. 

The inquest heard that officers on scene told Holmes that Mutch had run toward them with the knife, that a bean bag bullet did not stop him and that one shot was fired in response. 

The 911 dispatcher who handled the call also served as a witness, saying that it was possible Marney Mutch had misread the level of danger she was in.

The inquest is scheduled to hear from more witnesses, including the officer who fired the shot, later this week. 

Proceedings continue on Tuesday. 

Calvin ToCalvin To

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