An aerial view of the positions of the vehicles in the May 8 incident, taken from the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. report.

Man who died at BC Ferries terminal shot himself as police fired: watchdog

Officers didn’t commit any offence, says police watchdog office

The provincial police watchdog has found that RCMP officers did not commit any offence when a man was shot and killed at the Departure Bay ferry terminal in May.

A suspect who was being arrested that morning shot himself in the head at the same time that two police officers shot the suspect in the chest with what would have been fatal gunshots, according to a report released today by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C.

“The evidence is clear that [the suspect], while surrounded by police, raised his gun and shot himself in the head. That was his only intention,” notes the IIO report. “However, as he did this, the gun would have been pointed at several police officers.”

Police had been advised that a car, reported stolen in a “violent car-jacking” in Penticton, had been located on a B.C. Ferries vessel. Police positioned their vehicles and the suspect car was separated from other ferry traffic and “forced to stop.”

“[The suspect] reached to the passenger seat of the car, raised a long-barrelled handgun (the pistol) and fatally shot himself in the head. At the same time that [the suspect] raised the pistol, [two] officers … commenced firing their nine-millimetre police issue firearms and delivered what would have been fatal gunshot injuries to AP’s chest.”

The report noted that statements were taken from 31 civilian witnesses and 11 police officers.

Also included as evidence gathered during the investigation were, B.C. Emergency Health Services records, recordings of police radio transmissions, B.C. Ferries closed circuit television video, firearms analysis reports, a toxicology report, cell phone video, photographs and medical records.

The reoport notes that the suspect sustained a very serious head injury, and three gunshot wounds to his abdomen, one to his collarbone and one to his left bicep. Paramedics reported the victim had a pulse when checked, but was pronounced dead about 20-30 minutes after being transferred to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.

UPDATE: Man shot and killed during attempted arrest at Departure Bay ferry terminal

More to come.