The B.C. Prosecution Service has issued a follow-up statement explaining why no charges were laid against Salmon Arm police officers during a shooting on July 3, 2015.
The non-fatal shooting occurred when a suspect fled from police following an armed robbery in Sicamous and was later shot by an officer while he was hiding behind a residence in Canoe.
In this case, the Independent Investigations Office (IIO), which investigates incidents where police officers fire a weapon, forwarded its report to the Prosecution Service to assess whether charges should be laid.
“In order to maintain confidence in the integrity of the criminal justice system, a Clear Statement explaining the reasons for not approving charges is made public…,” states a media release issued May 16.
The “Clear Statement” reads:
“On July 3, 2015 at 4:42 pm, Salmon Arm RCMP received a report that a male suspect had robbed a gas station in Sicamous brandishing what appeared to be a firearm. The suspect fled in a vehicle westbound on the Trans-Canada Highway (“Hwy 1”), with one of the owners of the gas station pursuing him on a motorcycle.
“Following civilian reports, the RCMP attempted to set up containment using police vehicles near the intersection of Hwy 1 and Bernie Road. As the suspect drove back toward Hwy 1, he maneuvered his vehicle through the loose containment without striking any people or vehicles.
“As the suspect’s vehicle turned off Bernie Road westbound onto Hwy 1, one of the RCMP officers (“Subject Officer 1”) fired a single shot at his vehicle, hitting nothing. The suspect fled westbound.
“The RCMP later located the vehicle he had been driving at a farm east of Salmon Arm. An officer (“Subject Officer 2”) with a Police Service Dog (“PSD”) tracked the suspect to a dark storage room in the lower level of a disused barn.
“The PSD entered the room, followed by Subject Officer 2, who yelled commands to the suspect and to the PSD. At some point, the PSD seized the suspect’s thigh.
“The suspect swung a baseball bat, hitting Subject Officer 2 and Subject Officer 2’s firearm. Subject Officer 2 fired several shots, some of which struck the suspect.The suspect was treated in hospital, and survived his injuries.
“As a result of the injuries to the suspect, the IIO conducted an investigation into the actions of the officers who dealt with the suspect during the incident. At the conclusion of the investigation the IIO submitted a Report to Crown Counsel (“RCC”).
“Following a thorough review of the available evidence the BCPS has concluded that the evidence does not support approving any charges against the officers. The charge assessment was conducted by a Crown Counsel with no prior or current connection to the officers who were the subject of the IIO investigation…”