The BC Coroners Service is confirming it is running a parallel investigating into the death of Slocan resident Peter DeGroot, 45, following a police shooting in the Slocan area on Oct. 13.
“DeGroot was shot following an encounter with two RCMP Emergency Response Team members which occurred about 1:45 p.m. on Oct. 13, at a remote cabin in the Slocan area,” said Barb McLintock, Coroner, Strategic Programs. “He was deceased at the scene.”
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“The RCMP had named DeGroot as the person for whom they were searching in the area since Oct. 9,” McLintock added. “The BC Coroners Service investigates the circumstances of all sudden and unexpected deaths in the province to establish the facts for the public record, and to determine whether there are recommendations that may be made to prevent future deaths in similar circumstances. “
McLintock said this investigation will run parallel to that of the RCMP Independent Investigations Office but, while the IIO will be looking at potential crimes committed and whether charges are warranted, the Coroners Service will be conducting a fact-finding, as opposed to a fault-finding, investigation.
“We can look at what led up to it, whether mental health issues were involved, at the broader spectrum beyond just what went on in that cabin,” she explained. “We’ll be trying to determine if there could there have been an opportunity for any prior intervention – not to say that there is, in this case. But this is the kind of thing we look at.”
She said she can't begin to guess, at this juncture, how long the investigation will take, but said the results will definitely be made public.
The IIO issued a press release at the same time, as follows:
The Independent Investigations Office confirmed in a news release Tuesday that 45-year-old Peter DeGroot died from a gunshot injury sustained during an interaction with two members of the Emergency Response Team near a cabin west of Slocan.
An IIO team arrived in the area Monday evening and is currently on the scene.
“In addition, a firearm was found at the scene,” the release went on to say.
The release said the IIO investigation is still in its early stages and investigators are expected to be in the area this week.
“IIO resources include a team director, three investigators and a forensic specialist,” the release said.
“In additions to this, the IIO will provide dedicated services to assist the family of the deceased affected person.
The BC Coroners Service has also started an investigation into the shooting.
The IIO and the RCMP will work within the terms agreed upon in the Memorandum of Understanding that was signed by the Chief Civilian Director and B.C.’s police services in July 2012.
The IIO’s goals are to conduct fair, unbiased, timely, thorough and competent investigations and ensure transparency through public reporting.