An RCMP officer and man have been injured after an incident outside the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment Friday morning, according to the RCMP.
In a release, RCMP say around 6:30 a.m., an officer was in a police vehicle in the parking lot at the detachment when a male suspect drove into the lot and hit the vehicle, injuring the officer.
Shortly after the car crash, one officer approached the scene and drew his firearm. In a release, the RCMP say the officer shot his firearm “at the vehicle,” however, video shared on social media appears to show the officer pointing his gun at the suspect, who had backed away from the vehicle at the time the shot was fired.
Ronald MacDonald, chief civilian director of the Independent Investigations Office of B.C., which is investigating the shooting, says he has seen the video of the shooting and acknowledges the discrepancy between the release and video.
The video, taken by Jason Smith, shows a man standing beside an ajar, rear driver’s door of a black SUV. The black SUV was crashed against an RCMP vehicle that is in a ditch.
As police approach, the man walks backwards, stepping away from the vehicle, and the RCMP officer appears to shoot the man. He then falls to the ground. At the end of the video, he appears to roll over on the ground.
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The suspect and officer were brought to the hospital, both with what are believed to be non-life-threatening injuries.
“This is a very disturbing incident for our members and employees,” says Inspector Chris Bear, officer in charge of the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP in a news release.
“Additional supports and resources have been brought in to our detachment and core policing operations for the community will not be impacted. We are unsure what the man’s intentions were at this time, but the investigation will look to determine that.”
The North Cowichan/Duncan General Investigation Section is investigating the assault, while the IIO is investigating the shooting.
MacDonald says the IIO will be investigating to determine whether the use of force was reasonable in this situation.
“We’ll be looking…to determine what level of risk was reasonably posed by the individual at the time the officer shot at him, and whether it was in fact, at the end of the day, reasonable for that officer to believe that he or someone else was at a risk of grievous bodily harm or death,” MacDonald said.
“Because the use of lethal force, that is the the shooting of a gun, one requires reasonable grounds to believe that there was a threat of grievous bodily harm or death.”
He says the IIO will be looking for additional witnesses and information both on the shooting, and the events leading up to the shooting.
“Because what happened with the collision, the reasons behind it and how it happened are obviously relevant to determining what might constitute reasonable grounds and threat of risk from that civilian for the officer involved.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact the IIO’s Witness Line toll-free at 1-855-446-8477 or via the contact form on the iiobc.ca website.
The RCMP says the walk-in front counter service at the detachment is closed for the investigation and all other police services will continue to be provided.
This is the second recent incident of a North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP officer shooting a suspect in recent weeks.
On March 28, a man was shot in the head after he stole a skid steer in North Cowichan.
READ MORE: North Cowichan woman wishes she called police about skid steer before shooting
This incident is still under investigation by the IIO BC.
The Municipality of North Cowichan says there are road closures in the block of Canada Avenue between the Trans-Canada Highway, and Beverly Street.
🚨 May 12 7:45am 🚧CANADA AVE CLOSED 🚨 between the Trans Canada Highway and Beverley due to a police incident. Please avoid the area and take an alternate route. pic.twitter.com/Bok1RVPzfX
— North Cowichan (@NorthCowichan) May 12, 2023