The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. has found Saanich Police officers were not at fault when a man accidentally shot himself with a crossbow as they were assisting with serving an eviction.
According to the IIO report, the man barricaded himself into the home, then after a long stand-off with police he accidentally shot himself with the crossbow and died.
After the notice was served, the man went back into the house, then came back out with what appeared to be an “assault style rifle.” Officers later learned this was an air gun.
Because they believed it was a real gun, the first officer found cover behind a tree and pulled out his firearm. The second officer shouted commands to drop the weapon.
The man did not drop the weapon then returned to the house.
The Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team and Crisis Team were called to assist.
At 5:55 p.m., the man re-emerged from the house, shot the air gun at the police car, then barricaded himself in the house again. He then opened a window to fire at the police car once more.
“The police car windows were broken and there were 30-40 pellet holes in each of the two police vehicles that were hit,” the report says.
At 6:40 GVERT took control of the scene and spent hours negotiating with the man to leave the house with his hands up.
Officers provided him with a phone at 8:41 p.m. to speak with police. He collected the phone then threw it back to the officers.
Officers fired five “less lethal” projectile rounds at the man, which appeared to have no effect on him.
At 11:20 p.m., officers used tear gas on the man.
“Approximately ten minutes later, AP called 911 and reported that he had accidentally shot himself with a crossbow because officers had ‘pepper sprayed’ him,” the report says.
At 11:39, the call was transferred to a police negotiator what gave the man instructions on how to exit the residence, asking him to come out with nothing in his hands.
“Given what had happened so far, officers were not sure whether AP was being truthful or not as to whether he was injured,” the report says.
The man came to the front door, and collapsed. Officers took some steps to ensure he was actually having a medical emergency then entered and he was found to be non-responsive.
Emergency Health Services and the Fire Department, who were staged nearby during the incident, provided medical care and pronounced him deceased on the front lawn.
The IIO director found the officers were acting lawfully in executing their duties, and that they had tried several tactics to get the man to leave the residence peacefully.
“Based on his previous behavior, and the presence of weapons, it was reasonable for police to be concerned that AP may have still been a threat to officers even after his 911 call that he shot himself,” the report says. “Officers proceeded cautiously and AP was provided with medical assistance as soon as it was safe to do so.”