RCMP Deputy Commissioner Jennifer Strachan issued the following statement on Wednesday about the Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia (IIO BC) public report into the 2019 fatal police-involved shooting in Surrey:
THIS morning the Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia (IIO BC) issued a report clearing Lower Mainland Emergency Response Team (LMD ERT) members of wrongdoing in a March 29, 2019 incident where officers responded to a report of a hostage taking. The male hostage taker was fatally shot by LMD ERT, and the woman hostage was critically injured and died of her injuries.
Through the Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia (IIO BC) investigation we later learned that the injuries that the woman sustained were a result of police gunfire.
On behalf of the BC RCMP, and in particular, the LMD ERT members, I would also like to extend our sincere condolences to the woman’s family. From the day this incident took place, our thoughts have been with them as they have suffered an unimaginable loss.
As there have been a number of questions about how this occurred, I would recommend anyone with questions read the full IIO BC report which provides details about the incident. The report can be found here:
On March 29, 2019, the LMD ERT responded to a report of a hostage taking where weapons were present. It, by its very nature, was a dangerous and dynamic environment where the man pointed weapons at police and made threats to the woman and the attending officers.
Multiple attempts to communicate with the man were made but were unsuccessful. Eventually the man imposed a deadline as to when he was going to significantly harm or kill the woman. At that point officers were required to act as they believed that there was an imminent risk to her safety. Officers then cleared the home before they entered the bedroom where the man and woman were located. They found the man holding the woman with a knife and what they believed was a gun pointed at her. They fired their weapons, killing him. Unfortunately, the worst case scenario played out, and in addition to the hostage taker, the woman whom our officers were trying to assist was fatally injured. The IIO report states that she may have moved or been pushed as our officers fired their weapons.
I wanted to express how much this incident has affected our employees. Across Canada dedicated police officers go to work each day looking to help the people and communities we serve.
Police units such as the Lower Mainland Emergency Response Team receive specialized training and equipment to deal with potentially volatile and exceptionally dangerous situations such as hostage takings. Our hope is to never have to use that training or equipment, but to be available and ready when needed. Each police-involved incident is unique and, despite extensive training, can unfold in unpredictable ways.
Since that time the officers involved have received support from the RCMP and their home police force, are doing well, and have returned to active duties. They will continue to receive support going forward.