IIO clears Saanich officers of wrongdoing in 2023 Pat Bay Highway incident

IIO clears Saanich officers of wrongdoing in 2023 Pat Bay Highway incident

The Independent Investigations Office of BC (IIO) says there was no wrongdoing after officers shot a man on the Pat Bay Highway during an hours-long incident last year.

In April 2023, Saanich police shut down a section of the Pat Bay Highway they described as a “police involved incident” near to Vanalman Avenue. Motorists were advised to avoid the area and seek shelter.

At the time police, arrested the driver of a vehicle but parts of the highway remained closed for several hours.

According to the IIO, the driver of the vehicle was shot by police after brandishing a weapon.

The report found that the driver of the vehicle, described as the affected person (AP), had been subjected to court-ordered conditions, including a curfew and wearing an electronic monitoring device.

IIO officers say that on the night of the incident, AP reported being in “a dark place” and had to attend a medical appointment that required his device to be temporarily removed.

“With electronic monitoring suspended, AP was required to respond at his home to regular phone contacts from the central monitoring facility,” wrote chief civilian director Ronald J. MacDonald.

AP told investigators that on his way home, he stopped at a friend’s house and picked up a 9mm pistol and also brought a bottle of vodka from the liquor store.

According to the report, AP drank at his home and didn’t respond to phone calls which prompted police to attend his home.

Saanich Police say that saw a vehicle leaving the area that was registered to a family member of AP and conducted a traffic stop on the side of the Pat Bay.

“When an officer approached the SUV, he saw that AP was the driver and directed him to get out of the vehicle. AP declined to do so and was advised he was under arrest,” wrote MacDonald.

Officers say AP displayed a weapon, believed to be the 9 mm pistol, and pointed it at his own head.

“Police blocked traffic in both directions on the highway, and evacuated civilians form their cars. Emergency Response Team (ERT) members were asked to attend and take over the scene.”

After repeated commands by ERT members to get out of the vehicle, AP exited with the pistol still in his hand. The IIO says that one officer saw AP “brandishing” the weapon as he walked towards officers.

An officer shot AP and he soon fell and officers deployed a police dog which bit and dragged AP away from the weapon.

The driver was taken to hospital with a single gunshot wound and dog bite marks. He survived his injuries.

MacDonald wrote that the use of lethal force and police dog was justifiable and that no further use of force was brought against AP.

Oli HerreraOli Herrera

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