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

Chantal Schwark, left with Gerri Gill and Elle Schwark, 11 months old in the pumpkin patch at Arrowvale Farm. (SONJA DRINKWATER/ Alberni Valley News)
Final day for Arrowvale pumpkin patch is Oct. 25

Drive down to the patch and pick your own pumpkin

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

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

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Most Read