B.C. police watchdog says RCMP fired shots at man who died in Quesnel parking lot

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Police tape surrounds the parking lot behind a seniors centre in downtown Quesnel.  (Submitted by Kevin Toews - image credit)
Police tape surrounds the parking lot behind a seniors centre in downtown Quesnel. (Submitted by Kevin Toews - image credit)

B.C.'s police watchdog says RCMP officers fatally shot a man who had been sleeping in a vehicle in a parking lot in downtown Quesnel in central B.C. early Tuesday morning, after he reportedly reached for a firearm.

"Our understanding is shots were indeed fired by police and led to the individual's death," Ron MacDonald, chief civilian director of the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. told CBC News.

B.C. RCMP said officers conducted a check on a vehicle at 3:30 a.m. and discovered a man sleeping inside.

"When officers approached, the man reportedly reached for a firearm, and shots were fired," said RCMP Staff Sgt. Janelle Shoihet in a written release.

MacDonald said investigators are trying to determine whether the man in the vehicle also fired shots.

"What potential actions were taken or observed to be taken by the individual inside the car, of course, is the primary focus of our investigation. That's a question we are attempting to determine," said MacDonald.

MacDonald said IIO investigators don't yet know why officers were checking the vehicle or why the man was sleeping inside.

The altercation took place in the 400 block of Carson Avenue, in the vicinity of the Quesnel RCMP detachment, a restaurant and a motel.

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