A man was shot during a traffic stop Friday night. The Independent Investigations Office is now investigating the incident.
Authorities stopped the vehicle near the 4100 block of Highway 17, in relation to an investigation regarding the man’s breach of a conditional sentence order, according to a report released by the IIO Saturday afternoon.
During the stop, the man was shot. At this time it isn’t clear what unfolded during the incident. He was transported to hospital, where he had to undergo surgery. He currently remains in the ICU, in stable condition.
“The IIO has begun an investigation to confirm the details of what occurred during the traffic stop and to determine what role, if any, police actions or inactions played in the man’s injuries,” reads the report released Saturday.
“The actions of the person involved and what impact they might have had on the threat assessment done by police are the questions we’re looking into now,” said a spokesperson with the IIO.
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Megan Rees was there when it happened. She told CHEK News a friend had just picked her up from the airport and was driving her home when traffic came to a crawl.
At first, she thought it was just congestion. “I noticed there’s a couple of flashing lights up ahead, and I figured oh, maybe it’s like a sobriety check, or police stop, you know, because sometimes they stop all the traffic because they’re expecting somebody who matches a certain descriptor or something,” she said.
She adds that as they waited in traffic police cars began passing them on the shoulder. Meanwhile, just ahead of her were pedestrians — behind them, a police officer. “I thought, are they running from the cops? Like what is going on? And he’s carrying this massive like, assault rifle,” Rees added.
“I can just hear him yelling like, evacuate your vehicle, evacuate your vehicle, get out the car, run. And so quickly, we get out and he’s going around, he’s yelling at other people, evacuate, evacuate, run all this kind of stuff. So we get out and we are just like quickly running, running until we get to the exit.”
Another witness at the scene shared on Social Media a picture of police tape crossing Highway 17, and said police told drivers to “leave everything behind, and evacuate as far away as possible, and go to the safest place we can get to.”
The individual, who goes by Michele on Twitter, said among a group of evacuees, they heard what sounded like a gunshot or flash bang.
The stretch of highway between Quadra Street and McKenzie Avenue remained closed until 6 a.m. Saturday.
Island Health also confirmed that, as a result of this incident, both the Victoria General Hospital and Royal Jubilee Hospital were briefly placed on enhanced security protocols overnight, saying the situation did not affect people’s ability to access care. However, Island Health and the IIO could not provide further details as to why enhanced security were required.