Police watchdog investigates death of Williams Lake man after RCMP encounter

·1 min read
RCMP officers were called to a Williams Lake, B.C., apartment building before dawn on Sunday. A man was later found dead in one of the apartments.  (CBC - image credit)
RCMP officers were called to a Williams Lake, B.C., apartment building before dawn on Sunday. A man was later found dead in one of the apartments. (CBC - image credit)

WARNING: This story contains distressing details.

The Independent Investigations Office (IIO) of B.C. is investigating an incident involving the RCMP in Williams Lake in which one man died early Sunday morning.

Witnesses said local RCMP officers surrounded a small apartment block around 3:40 a.m., later followed by the arrival of an RCMP tactical team.

Nearby streets were locked down, and residents were told to stay indoors. The incident took place on the 700-block of 11th Avenue in Williams Lake, according to the IIO.

The RCMP issued a statement Sunday evening saying they had information that a man had a weapon and was contemplating self-harm.

"RCMP officers attended the residence, established a perimeter and a police negotiator attempted to contact the man," the statement said.

Tactical officers with the North District Emergency Response Team entered the home around noon, and found a man with what police said appeared to be a "self-inflicted injury" and a weapon.

The province's police watchdog is now investigating the incident, saying in a statement RCMP officers had "attempted to engage with the man for several hours" before his death.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

"The IIO … has commenced an investigation to determine what role, if any, police actions or inactions may have played in the man's death," the statement said. The IIO is asking for witnesses to contact them with any information about the incident.

Where to get help

Crisis Centre B.C.: 1-800-SUICIDE, 1-800-784-2433

Mental Health Support Line: 310-6789

Online Chat Service for Adults: CrisisCentreChat.ca (noon to 1 a.m.)

Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention: Find a 24-hour crisis centre

The Canada Suicide Prevention Service can be accessed online at crisisservicescanada.ca.

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