The family and friends of a 38-year-old Wet’suwet’en father who was shot and killed by Campbell River RCMP one year ago are still waiting for answers.
At a memorial march held in Jared Lowndes’s honour Friday morning in Campbell River, Lowndes’ mother Laura Holland was joined by Martha Martin, the mother of Chantel Moore and Michael Martin.
Chantel Moore, a 26-year-old Indigenous woman, was shot dead by police during a welfare check in New Brunswick in June 2020. In November 2020, Michael Martin took his life in the Surrey pre-trial centre.
“As a mother of two children killed by police and prisons, I have no faith in recommendations,” Martin said in a statement put out by the Vancouver-based Pivot Legal Society, a legal advocacy group.
“We need action and we need it now. Every time I gather with families, we add new names to our lists of people killed by the police. The violence must end. Now I am walking with Laura Holland because I understand her pain — as a mother who has lost children to police violence.”
Supporters of the #JusticeForJared march want to bring attention to ongoing violence perpetrated by the RCMP, says the statement.
“We can no longer allow the killing of Indigenous, Black, and other community members and claim it is authorized by public interest, public safety, or the public purse,” it said.
Just before 9 a.m. on July 8, 2021, Campbell River RCMP tried to pull Lowndes over for an outstanding warrant but the father of two failed to stop and fled the area. A short time later, an officer spotted his vehicle in the Tim Hortons parking lot in the 2000-block of the South Island Highway.
A police officer boxed in the vehicle and a confrontation occurred between Lowndes and the police officer, who had a police service dog. During the interaction, the dog was stabbed and killed, and Lowndes was shot and pronounced dead at the scene. The dog handler was treated for a knife wound.
Court documents reveal a warrant for Lowndes had been issued on March 21, 2021, for allegedly breaching a conditional sentence order.
In December 2020, Lowndes was convicted in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver of two firearms offences dating to April 2013. He was convicted of possessing a restricted firearm with ammunition and contravening a regulation regarding storage or transportation of a firearm and restricted weapons.
Lowndes’ mother has called for an inquest and continues to call for an external investigation into the conduct of the RCMP.
On Friday, the B.C. Coroners Service said its investigation into the death remains open.
The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is also investigating Lowndes’ death, as well as another police-involved shooting at the Discovery Harbour Authority in Campbell River in June and a fatal incident following a theft at a local business in April.
Police fired shots, but cause of death has not been determined, says the IIO.
After Lowndes’ death, the RCMP issued two statements — one about the police dog’s service and another thanking the Campbell River community for its support in the wake of the dog’s death. That weekend, residents came out to watch an RCMP procession in honour of the dog, called Gator.
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