'Now she has no father': Girl witnessed RCMP-involved stun gun death in B.C.
Published Monday, February 26, 2018 10:05AM EST
A B.C. father is dead after he was struck by a stun gun while attempting to escape with his daughter from a supervised visit, in an incident that has drawn the attention of the province’s police watchdog.
The province’s Independent Investigation Office (IIO) says members of the public confronted the 43-year-old man before Chilliwack RCMP showed up to stop a reported parental abduction.
The IIO says a stun gun was deploying during an “interaction” with the man that led to his arrest.
“After the arrest, the male went into medical distress, and was taken to hospital where he was pronounced deceased,” Ron MacDonald, of the IIO, told CTV Vancouver. He says six officers are now under investigation in connection with the incident.
Witnesses say it was a tragic end to a frantic chase that played out across several city blocks in Chilliwack, where the man was seen running with his daughter in his arms. Police say he had escaped from a supervised visit that quickly turned violent.
“He was carrying her (in) a bear hug… and he was running and frantic and screaming, running in front of cars,” witness Taylor Smith told CTV Vancouver. “He almost got hit.”
Smith was behind the wheel of her pickup truck at the time, and worked together with another motorist to block the man’s path with their vehicles.
“The guy, he was totally out of it, he was trying to run away from us,” she said. “My goal was to kind of block him in so he couldn’t keep running with her.”
Smith says she grabbed the daughter away from the man while the other motorist tried to subdue him until police arrived.
Margie Walker says she saw officers try to help the man, who appeared to be in medical distress.
“I saw the police doing CPR on a man right here on the road,” she said.
Walker says she was filled with sadness for the family involved.
“My heart goes out to that father that obviously had some issues in life, and my heart cries for his little daughter,” she said. “What a day that your dad dies and you’re standing right over there at Seven-Eleven, witnessing… this horrific scene.”
Smith said she is also filled with sympathy for the family.
“A man is dead. A girl is traumatized. She could have been killed. And now she has no father,” Smith said.
Autopsy and toxicology reports are expected in the coming days to determine the cause of death.
Investigators have spoken to witnesses, collected evidence and obtained surveillance camera footage from the scene.
The IIO investigates all incidents involving police in which a serious injury or death occurs.
With files from CTV Vancouver’s Sarah MacDonald