Content Warning: this story contains details some may find disturbing.
The family of the Wet’suwet’en man fatally shot by Campbell River RCMP last week is asking for a public inquest into his death.
Jared Lowndes, 38, was killed in a police-involved altercation in the parking lot of the Tim Hortons restaurant in Willow Point on July 8.
Police say Mounties attempted to stop a vehicle in relation to an outstanding warrant when the suspect fled. According to the National Police Federation, it was an outstanding warrant for weapons offences.
An officer boxed in the vehicle outside the restaurant before confronting Lowndes with a police dog. During the incident, the police dog was fatally stabbed with a knife and Lowndes was shot, dying a short time later. The police dog handler received a knife wound.
Because the incident involved RCMP, B.C.’s police watchdog is investigating to determine whether police action or inaction resulted in the death.
Campbell River RCMP cannot discuss information regarding the nature of the warrant or about the case in general due to the IIO investigation.
Lowndes’ family is now asking for a public inquest into the shooting, according to CBC, which was the latest in a string of similar events in the past year, including the deaths of Tla-o-qui-aht Nation members Julian Jones near Tofino, and Chantelle Moore in New Brunswick.
Lee Hackett, a friend of Lowndes for more than 20 years, said the man’s family is devastated with grief and angry over how the situation was handled by the police.
“His mom is devastated for sure,” Hackett said. “She’s definitely trying to deal with a lot of grief, a lot of shock.”
Hackett feels the use of deadly force was unwarranted, and also questions why they used a police dog in the situation, although someone told him later that it was probably because Lowndes was considered a flight risk.
Hackett said the family has been shocked by some of the commentary on social media about victim and the situation. A memorial was placed by his friends at the shooting site and has been vandalized.
Lowndes is survived by his 13-year-old daughter, his mother and four siblings. Hackett said he was a man who was working on turning his life around, loved animals and was a “super good dad.” He was a person who was always willing to help people, he said.