BC’s independent police watchdog has cleared RCMP in the deaths of a man and his mother during a Northern BC standoff two years ago.
The report from the Independent Investigations Office says 73-year-old Shirley Williams and her 39-year-old son Jovan were shot and killed outside their Granisle home April 21, 2016 after RCMP were called to a dispute involving a handgun.
The IIO says police were contacted after witnesses saw Jovan point a handgun at one of his neighbours, pull the trigger, and then when the gun didn’t fire, pistol whip the neighbour and attempt to forcibly take the person to his house.
Police arrived, set up a perimeter around the Williams house and made phone contact with Shirley Williams by phone with the plan of negotiating her son’s surrender.
Information from radio transmissions indicates that once the phone call ended, Jovan Williams then left the back of the house armed with a rifle and a molotov cocktail. He was shot twice by a member of the RCMP Emergency Response Team after throwing the makeshift bomb and pointing his weapon at the officer.
Shirley Williams was shot once by the same officer after it was alleged she left the home shortly after her son and pointed a weapon at the Mountie.
The IIO says a loaded rifle was found next Jovan Williams’ body. He was wearing an army helmet and a black jacket with green army webbing that held eight ammunition clips loaded with 10 rounds ammunition each.
Shirley Williams’ body was found with a loaded shotgun next to her. She was wearing ballistic body armour over a camouflage jacket.
A charred bottle with a rag sticking out of it was found approximately 27 metres from where the officer was positioned and a number of unused molotov cocktails were found outside the back of the home.
The IIO report says evidence supports the conclusion that the RCMP officer fired his rifle to protect himself from potential lethal force from guns being pointed at him.
The matter will not be referred to Crown Counsel for consideration of charges.
The full IIO report can be found here.