The Independent Investigations Office (IIO) of B.C. is recommending charges against a VicPD officer for fatally shooting a man in front of Mayfair Shopping Centre in September 2021.
Around 9:50 a.m. on Sept. 12, 2021, Saanich Police officers were responding to a call alleging a man was making threats with a weapon near Douglas Street and Tolmie Avenue.
That particular intersection is where the border between Victoria and Saanich is located.
Shortly after Saanich Police responded, VicPD officers also attended and negotiated with the man. “Less-lethal force” options were used, according to IIO.
Around 11 a.m., “an interaction” happened and the man was shot by a Victoria Police officer. He was pronounced deceased at the scene.
Chief Civilian Director Ronald J. MacDonald reviewed the evidence in the investigation and concluded there is reasonable grounds to believe one officer committed an offence when using the firearm.
IIO has forwarded a report to the BC Prosecution Service to consider charges against one VicPD officer.
“In order to approve any charges, the BC Prosecution Service must be satisfied that there is a substantial likelihood of conviction based on the evidence gathered by the IIO, and that prosecution be required in the public interest,” the release by the IIO says.
Following the incident, Del Manak, Victoria’s police chief, said the man had gone into a liquor store nearby and produced a weapon.
“I understand that there was a liquor store that was involved, and this individual had gone into the liquor store while he was armed, earlier on before the encounter with VicPD,” Manak said on Sept. 13, 2021.
Management of Cascadia Liquor in Uptown shopping centre tells CHEK News that a man entered the store Sunday morning and appeared to be distraught. He produced a knife and threatened his own life but at no point was aggressive or threatening to staff and eventually left after being asked. Store staff called 911.
One witness told CHEK News that they were driving down Douglas Street and saw a man with a knife to his throat yelling at police.
“I pulled over and the person was in distress, having a mental health crisis, and it kind of escalated,” Kevin Toffey told CHEK News in 2021. “It went on for quite a while with the police officers there. And they were negotiating with him, trying to calm him down. It kind of went up and down with his emotions.”
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-With files from CHEK’s April Lawrence, Nicholas Pescod and Tahmina Aziz