Peter de Groot was shot and killed by RCMP officers during a 2014 manhunt. File photo

UPDATED: 3-year wait for probe into police-involved fatal shooting ‘unacceptable’: B.C. RCMP

RCMP officers shot and killed the West Slocan resident after a manhunt

Two RCMP officers have been exonerated in the 2014 shooting death of Peter de Groot.

The 45-year-old West Slocan resident allegedly fired a shot at police on Oct. 9, 2014 when officers responded to an argument between De Groot and another person.

De Groot then fled into the bush, and three days after the initial encounter was shot and killed by an officer after De Groot allegedly drew his firearm while hiding in a remote cabin.

The ensuing investigation by the Independent Investigations Office (IIO) took more than three years to complete and concluded with two officers being cleared of any wrongdoing Thursday. This means the case will not be referred to Crown counsel for consideration of charges.

Investigations by the IIO, a civilian body independent of the police, are initiated whenever a police officer causes death or serious harm. The IIO report on the death of De Groot is attached below.

The purpose of the investigation in this case was to determine whether the officer who shot De Groot used excessive force.

During the investigation that officer, described only as Officer 1 in the report, declined to make a statement. Also, consistent with an agreement between the IIO and police forces in B.C., he was not compelled to turn over his notes, reports, or data.

There was one eye witness to the shooting, Officer 2, who gave a statement to investigators. Otherwise the investigation relied on a variety of forensic evidence and pathology reports.

Officer 2 said that when they suspected De Groot was in the cabin, he and Officer 1 approached it and each stood on one side of the door.

“Officer 1 stood to the left of the door with his rifle up,” the report states. “Officer 2 said that he opened and pushed the door inward. He said he then saw a rifle come up. He believed it was about 60 centimetres above the floor. Although Officer 2 could not see (De Groot) he believed that he was lying on the cabin floor.”

Then Officer 1 fired the shot that killed De Groot. It was the only shot fired during the incident at the cabin.

Related:

Much of the report details a succession of reports from four different pathologists and a biomedical engineer. The initial two pathologists concluded that De Groot had been shot in the back. This conflicted with the statement from Officer 2. So a series of more detailed pathology reports were commissioned — one of them by De Groot’s family — and a biomedical engineer was hired.

Eventually it was concluded that the bullet travelled through De Groot’s body from front to back, which was consistent with Officer 2’s statement to investigators.

“Had Officer 1 shot (De Groot) in the back he may have committed murder,” the report states. “Had Officer 2 lied to investigators he may have committed obstruction of justice.”

The report states that solving this inconsistency was the main reason for the delay in the investigation, and the report calls the delay “unfortunate.” RCMP deputy commissioner Brenda Butterworth-Carr was unsympathetic, however.

“While the B.C. RCMP appreciates the challenges of complex investigations and evidence collection, the protracted nature of this investigation is unacceptable,” she said in a teleconference with the media Thursday.

“This was a dynamic series of events that have forever changed the police officers involved, a community, and a family that lost a loved one. The techniques used and the resulting time delays in determining the circumstances compounded the trauma and severely limited the ability of many to move forward.”

Don Sorochan, the De Groot family’s lawyer, said the family will wait until the middle of next week to make a public statement about the decision.

This story was changed on April 5 by the addition of the word “allegedly” to paragraph two.



bill.metcalfe@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

De Groot IIO Report by BillMetcalfe on Scribd

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Mugshots Cafe: renovated and reopened

The Fernie-favourite once again has its doors open to the public

Pick all your apples and save the bears

As summer ends, bears become more active looking for food

Citing stability, B.C. Premier calls snap election for Oct. 24

John Horgan meets with Lieutenant Governor to request vote

B.C. Premier announces fall election

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka reacts to election announcement

Interior Health reports three additional COVID-19 cases in region

The number of cases in the region since the beginning of the pandemic are now at 492

B.C. reports 91 new cases as officials remain worried over ‘clusters of COVID-19

There have now been a total of 8,395 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began

Four more cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

There are 31 active cases in isolation in the health region

Canada’s active COVID-19 cases top 10,000 as daily new cases triple over the past month

Dr. Tam repeated her warning to young people, who have made up the majority of recent cases

First 8 months of fatal overdoses in B.C. have now exceeded 2019 death toll

Nine people died every two days in August, BC Coroners Service data shows

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Liberal effort to reset policy agenda panned by rivals as too much talk, not action

Trudeau said it’s ‘all too likely’ families won’t be able to gather for Thanksgiving next month

Totem pole considered cultural appropriation removed from Nelson’s Hume School

The pole had also become rotted and was seen as dangerous to students

‘Show us the money’ for cannabis, local governments tell B.C.

Municipal tax, transit revenues falling as costs rise

‘It’s a boy’: Southern Resident killer whale calf born to J Pod is healthy, researchers say

J35 had previously done a ‘Tour of Grief,’ carrying her dead calf for 17 days

Most Read