B.C.’s police watchdog is investigating after a standoff between Williams Lake RCMP and a barricaded man ended in the latter’s death Sunday (July 10).
RCMP say they received a complaint about a man in possession of a weapon and considering self-harm at a home in the community at about 3:40 a.m. Sunday. The department sent a team to the residence at the corner of Smedley Street and Eleventh Avenue to establish a perimeter around it and attempt to negotiate with the man inside.
Around mid-morning, Staff Sgt. Del Byron told Black Press Media people living in the neighbourhood should “go into the basement for now” and the general public should avoid the area.
Video Black Press Media captured on scene shows officers calling for someone inside to exit the residence. It also shows officers, and members of the North District Emergency Response Team, deploying what appear to be less-lethal explosive devices. At one point, an officer smashes in the front window of the home.
Around noon, a youth carrying a cell phone and appearing upset exited the residence and was escorted away by officers. Shortly after, members of the emergency response team entered a unit on the main floor through the front door. Inside, they found a deceased man with a weapon, and what appeared to be self-inflicted injuries, according to RCMP.
The RCMP is now working with the BC Coroner’s Service to identify the deceased individual’s exact cause of death.
B.C.’s police watchdog, the Independent Investigations Office of B.C., is investigating the incident to determine whether police actions contributed to the man’s death.
The IIO is the independent civilian oversight agency that investigates all officer-related incidents that result in serious harm or death, whether or not there is any allegation of wrongdoing.