The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. (IIO) has found a Victoria police officer did not use excessive force when she shot a man brandishing a knife in a March 2021 incident.
In his report, Ronald MacDonald, IIO chief civilian director, concluded using lethal force was both “necessary and reasonable” as there was significant risk posed to both the police and the other people at the scene.
The man was shot once in the abdomen after a conducted energy weapon failed to stop him from approaching police. The man underwent surgery and has “significantly recovered” from his injuries.
When interviewed by IIO investigators after the incident, the man said he was attempting suicide by police. A witness said she overheard the man say, “I wanted assisted suicide.”
The incident took place in the emergency department at Royal Jubilee Hospital at around 5 a.m. on March 15, 2021. Two members of the Victoria Police Department were dealing with another matter when a hospital security guard approached them saying the man had brandished a knife and was overheard by a witness saying, “I want to kill somebody or someone.”
MacDonald said in the report that the man had deliberately tried to make himself seem intent on harming those around him after ignoring both healthcare staff and police telling him to drop the knife.
The man had earlier been taken to the emergency room in an ambulance after he said he had ingested plutonium. Approximately 30 minutes after arriving, he was seen holding the knife. The man ignored security when they told him multiple times to drop the weapon.
One of the officers went to investigate. She saw the man with the knife, drew her taser and called for backup. The second officer approached the emergency room and drew her firearm.
The man approached the first officer with the knife held upright and pointed towards the first officer. The first officer fired her conducted energy weapon but it did not stop the man from approaching. The second officer then shot the man once with her firearm. Once shot, the man fell to the ground and lowered the knife, with police taking it away from him.
“There was a significant risk faced by the arresting officers, and potentially to the public if (the man) escaped. As a result, this use of force by the (second officer) was justified,” wrote MacDonald.
The release of the report was delayed until the court case for the man was completed.
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