Canadian soldier involved in standoff with police dies by suicide
Published Tuesday, September 16, 2014 6:47PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, September 16, 2014 11:02PM EDT
A Canadian soldier who was involved in a 40-hour standoff with Ontario Provincial Police last month has died by suicide.
Master Cpl. Denis Demers, a Canadian Forces medical technician who served two tours in Afghanistan, was found dead on Sept. 12, CTV’s Mercedes Stephenson reported Tuesday.
Demers, 44, was involved in a lengthy standoff with police in Petawawa, Ont., at the end of August. The standoff ended peacefully and Demers was taken to a local hospital.
A few days after the standoff, Demers attempted suicide and was taken to a psychiatric ward. He was supposed to be on a 72-hour-hold, but was released after 24 hours.
“Any loss of a soldier is devastating to the Canadian Armed Forces community and our condolences go out to his family and friends,” the Department of National Defence said in a statement to CTV News.
A coroner is investigating, but military sources have told CTV that Demers did, in fact, die by suicide.
Military Minds, a group that advocates on behalf of troubled soldiers and veterans, is calling for a public inquiry into Demers’ death, Stephenson reported. The group says Demers was sick and did not get the help he needed.
Demers had been with the Canadian Forces since 2002. He served two tours of duty in Afghanistan, one in 2008 and another in 2010.
A rash of military suicides nine months ago raised questions about resources available to soldiers and veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues.
The Canadian Press reported Tuesday that the military has yet to fill 40 positions in its mental health workforce meant to address the suicide crisis.