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

Just Posted

Celebrating winter heritage with Griz Days

Mark your calendars, start doing your snow dance and get ready for… Continue reading

Red Apple hosts kid’s shopping day

On Sunday December 1, Red Apple in Fernie opened its doors for… Continue reading

Lilac Terrace receives $25,000 donation

Lilac Terrace, a senior’s supported living complex owned by the Elk Valley… Continue reading

Support the Cause proceeds assist children with cancer

There were plenty of smiling faces at Western Financial Group on Friday… Continue reading

Second Avenue location home for Coal Town Goods

Fernie’s own Coal Town Goods moved to a new location on Second… Continue reading

VIDEO: Merriam-Webster declares ‘they’ its 2019 word of the year

Declared word of year based on a 313-per-cent increase in look-ups on the company’s search site

VIDEO: Calgary man narrowly escapes from avalanche while running at Lake Louise

Bryon Howard caught the entire wild experience on camera

PHOTOS: Competitive Christmas light display takes sarcastic turn in Princeton

Heather King of Princeton took a creative and stress-free approach to her holiday display this year

RCMP asks Kootenay cannabis shop to remove image of famous Mountie from storefront

Owner happy to comply with RCMP, but wants more information first

BC Ferries adds 170 extra sailings for the holidays

6 a.m. and 10 p.m. sailings added for busy season

Anti-money laundering agency warns casinos to watch gamers playing with bank drafts

Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, known as Fintrac, issues operational alert

Strata rental bans escape B.C. speculation tax through 2021, Carole James says

Vacant home tax won’t apply to cabins accessible only by water

China hints at national security trials for 2 Canadians detained for one year

The two Canadians’ detention is largely seen as retaliation for the arrest of a Huawei exec

Most Read