RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)

Merritt RCMP cleared of wrongdoing after man shoots self near detachment

The man drove into the parking lot next to the police station on Dec. 5, got out of his vehicle with a rifle and fired shots

  • Dec. 14, 2020 3:19 p.m.

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. has cleared the Merritt RCMP of any wrongdoing in a shooting incident next to the Nicola Valley detachment on Dec. 5.

The IIO was called in to conduct an investigation into whether the RCMP played a role in a man’s death after he drove into the parking lot next to the police station at about 4:45 p.m., got out of his vehicle with a rifle and fired shots — eventually turning the gun on himself.

According to the IIO, officers who came out of the detachment upon hearing gunshots saw the armed man pointing the rifle at them and took cover. The man was found deceased a short time later.

Video from a nearby vehicle and forensic assessment of the scene confirmed the gunfire came from the man, who at one point turned his rifle in the direction of, but did not fire at, a police SUV arriving on scene.

The driver of the police vehicle retreated and, the video shows, the man then fatally shot himself.

The IIO’s chief civilian director has reviewed the evidence — including video, statements of independent civilian witnesses and scene analysis reports — and has determined the police played no role in the death of the man.

“At no point did any officer discharge their firearm,” a press release from the IIO stated.

The IIO is the independent civilian oversight agency of the police in British Columbia. It investigates all officer-related incidents that result in serious harm or death, regardless of whether there is any allegation of wrongdoing.

READ MORE: Vernon RCMP actions under scrutiny from watchdog

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