Nanaimo RCMP are investigating at the scene of an alleged shooting at B.C. Ferries’ Departure Bay terminal. CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin

UPDATE: Man shot and killed during attempted arrest at Vancouver Island ferry terminal

Independent Investigations Office of B.C. takes over file after incident at Departure Bay in Nanaimo

A man is dead after being shot during an attempted arrest at Nanaimo’s Departure Bay ferry terminal this morning.

Chief Supt. Sean Sullivan, RCMP Island District commander, said the Island District Emergency Response Team and Nanaimo RCMP were at the location in relation to a “violent car-jacking incident” elsewhere in B.C.

“The vehicle was stopped by police and a takedown was initiated,” said Sullivan. “It resulted in what police believed was an individual with a firearm and shots were fired, resulting in the serious injuries to the suspect which later resulted in his death.

No one else was injured in the incident.

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. has about 10 people looking into the incident right now, said Ron MacDonald, the IIO’s chief civilian director.

“We’ll be looking into all the circumstances surrounding the interaction that led to the shots being fired,” he said at a press conference in Surrey this afternoon. “We will assess what the police were doing, what the individual was doing.”

He said the IIO is engaged in a forensics investigation and will speak with witnesses, look for possible video evidence and review radio traffic.

MacDonald said the IIO hasn’t yet determined if there was an exchange of gunfire.

“The RCMP reported that members saw what they believed to be a weapon as he exited the vehicle. That obviously is a very important part of our investigation as well.”

He added that leading up to the takedown attempt, there was communication with ferry staff to ensure that the suspect vehicle was among the last to disembark the vessel.

A witness told the News Bulletin he heard gunfire and saw a cluster of police vehicles at the terminal as the Queen of Cowichan was unloading in advance of a scheduled 10:40 a.m. sailing. Frank Leonard, chairman of the B.C. Agricultural Land Commission, said he was travelling from Campbell River to Richmond on business when the incident happened a little after 10:15 a.m.

“I heard a boom like a backfire of a truck and a couple of seconds [later] I heard bang, bang, bang, that sounded like gunfire,” he said.

He saw a cluster of police vehicles and saw B.C. Ambulance Service arrive on scene.

“An announcement came on to get in your car because there’d been a police incident,” Leonard said, adding that passengers were calm and the scene was very quiet.

About 20 minutes later, disembarking resumed via the departures lanes, and the Queen of Cowichan sailed less than half an hour behind schedule.

Andy Watson, B.C. Coroners Service spokesman, would not confirm details about fatalities or injuries other than to say the Coroners Service had been called to investigate.

“Yes, we have been called. We are early in our investigation,” Watson said, deferring further comment to the IIO.

story continues below

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. confirmed via social media that “investigators are being deployed to Nanaimo for a police-related incident.”

Sgt. Jon Stuart, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, said all comment about the incident would come from RCMP’s E Division headquarters on the Lower Mainland.

“The IIO will be attending later, so at this point we’re not going to be releasing any further information about what happened,” he said.

Stuart would not confirm any details about injuries or fatalities or even if police were involved in the shooting.

Deborah Marshall, B.C. Ferries spokeswoman, confirmed there was a police incident and ferry traffic will be affected.

“We are continuing to operate in and out of our Departure Bay terminal,” Marshall told the News Bulletin. “The ships will be running a bit behind schedule though because we’re using the vehicle booths to discharge traffic. Right now the exit lanes are closed, so it’s a bit of a re-route for our customers and that should carry on for at least a couple of hours probably.”

Just Posted

Battling winter blues, depression and SAD after the holidays

Kick the blues on ‘Blue Monday’ that is supposedly the most depressing day of the year

Former Kelowna city manager downplays possible Costco move

Ron Mattiussi says if store leaves for Westside, another big box retailer will likely take the site

Rockets make NHL Central Scouting Bureau mid-season rankings

Lassi Thomson is the top ranked Rocket in the 14th spot

Super blood wolf moon fills Okanagan skies, to photographers’ delight

Photographers had a rare chance Sunday to capture a rare lunar eclipse

The Kelowna Foundation to mark Bell Let’s Talk day with open discussion

The free and open event will answer questions and connect participants with services

Find me my furever home: Mittens and Boots

Meet Mittens and Boots who are available for adoption at the Kelowna BC SPCA

Teen in confrontation with Native American: I didn’t provoke

Nick Sandmann of Covington Catholic High School said he was trying to defuse the situation

Speaker brings report on allegations to B.C. legislature committee

Report describes Darryl Plecas’ suspicions about senior staff

B.C. man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

Man admits responsibility for 2016 death of Shuswap motorcyclist

Brian Watson, 60, died after being struck while riding his motorcycle on Squilax-Anglemont Road

Parole granted for drunk driver that killed BC RCMP officer

Kenneth Jacob Fenton will be able to attend alcohol abuse treatment, nearly three years after crash that killed Const. Sarah Beckett

Doug Ford says the Liberals’ carbon tax will plunge Canada into recession

The Ontario premier said there are already warning signs of difficult economic times ahead

Kamloops video rental store robbed for second time in 8 days

Movie Mart was robbed on Jan. 11 and held up again on Saturday afternoon under very similar circumstances

Most Read