The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. has determined life-threatening injuries sustained by a suspect as Saanich Police responded to a crash were self-inflicted and not caused by police action.
Around noon on July 7, Saanich Police responded to a crash near Cook Street and Cloverdale Avenue where one man sustained serious, life-threatening injuries.
Independent witnesses and the man who was injured told IIO the injuries were self-inflicted, and he only sustained minor injuries while being taken into police custody.
IIO confirmed to CHEK News that the man did not die from his injuries, though they were life-threatening.
On July 7, Norm Sedore told CHEK News he witnessed the immediate aftermath of the crash. He was in his backyard when he heard crashing sounds and ran out to find three damaged vehicles, two of which appeared to have been parked and a third, a red Audi SUV, with its airbags deployed.
Sedore said he then approached the driver of the crashed Audi to see how he was doing.
“I pulled back the airbag on the driver’s side and then I was presented with a butcher’s knife,” he said, adding that the driver started swearing at him and told him to get away.
Sedore also noted that there was a black poodle in the back seat of the vehicle.
Police arriving at the scene confronted the man and tried to calm him down but he became more agitated, prompting police to use non-lethal rounds, Sedore said.
“It just seemed like it fired him up,” he said. The man then proceeded to harm himself with the knife and removed his clothing before he was struck with another round — police firing about 12 to 15 shots in total, according to Sedore.
The man eventually collapsed and was taken into custody, he said.
IIO Chief Civilian Director Ronald J. MacDonald said after reviewing evidence in the case, including independent witness statements, video footage, forensic evidence and information from the injured man, he determined police action did not lead to serious injury.
With files from Jeff Lawrence and Ethan Morneau