Conflicting portraits of man killed in police shooting at Mill Bay

Friends and neighbours are identifying Chris Bloomfield as the man killed after shots were fired by police at Cedar Creek Mobile Home Park in Mill Bay on Saturday.

They provided conflicting accounts of what Bloomfield was like, with some saying he was a peaceful person, and others describing drug-fuelled misbehaviour.

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“I could hear this pop, pop, pop, pop,” neighbour David Normandin said, recalling what happened on Saturday. He was using his tablet in the back bedroom of his trailer, two doors over from the trailer at C-20 1120 Shawnigan Lake-Mill Bay Rd where Chris Bloomfield lived with his mother Marilyn Bloomfield.

Normandin thought it was fireworks “and then police started showing up and ambulances.”

Shawnigan Lake police, following up on an assault investigation, entered the home shortly after noon with the intention of arresting a lone male, Dawn Roberts, director in charge of B.C. RCMP communications, said in a statement.

“The officers were met with a male who they indicate advanced on them with an edged weapon,” Roberts said.

Officers responded by trying to use a stun gun in an unsuccessful effort to stop the man.

“Shots were fired by police,” said Roberts. “The male was transported to hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.” No one else was hurt.

Josh Archer, his wife Kristyn Seward and her brother Jordan Seward were in the front room of Normandin’s trailer. They didn’t hear anything over soundtrack of the Die Hard movie that they started watching about noon but they soon saw police activity. “They went in there and within three or four minutes they had shot Chris and they were back out here walking to their vehicle,” said Archer, “and no one was rushing around, that’s what blew me away.”

A large crowd of neighbours gathered outside.

They said the ambulance — both as it approached and left the trailer park — was driven slowly.

“If he was alive they would have turned the sirens on to get back out of here,” said Jordan Seward.

Normandin said police have been at the Bloomfields’ trailer a few times. “He might have been unstable and him and his mom argued a lot,” said Normandin. “You’d hear the ambulance go down there and the police and you knew something wasn’t right.”

Normandin said he was told by a next-door neighbour that Marilyn Bloomfield had left the family home the morning of the shooting.

Kristyn Seward said when Chris’ father was alive the same domestic situations occurred “because [Chris] was on drugs and not in the right mind set.” He was not a threat to anyone outside his home, she said, and just talked a lot of “mumble jumble.”

Cal Pilling has lived directly across from the Bloomfields since they moved in about 2000. Their sons grew up together. “It’s not really surprising, it’s long overdue,” said Pilling. “It’s like a hurricane waiting to hit; accumulation of things over the years basically caused that and no one’s really surprised by that.”

Pilling said Chris Bloomfield had “drug issues” and police were by the house “numerous times.”

Police were called to the home because he was “threatening and out of control and drug overdose, whatever,” he said. “It started out with mushrooms. He’d make tea out of any mushrooms he could find and that did a number on his head.”

Marilyn Bloomfield is a hair dresser who is now on old age pension, said Pilling. She once told him that her son was on disability payments “and she just wanted him out of the house, so she was like a prisoner in her own home.”

Lehanna Green described Bloomfield as not a perfect person, but a peaceful one. “This is why I am absolutely certain that if Chris was given the opportunity to have some space and cool down, things would have turned out very differently on Saturday,” said Green.

She said her son, who is 21, and Chris Bloomfield were friends as teenagers. He came to her home many times.

On Monday, she said she was a “sounding board” for young people mourning Bloomfield’s death — “young people who graced my home as they try to sort through their confusion and absolute devastation to reconcile how such a beautiful friend could be taken away in such a violent way.”

David Waugh, 22, recalled stories of his friend since their days at Frances Kelsey Secondary School in Mill Bay and the shock he felt when he heard that Bloomfield had been shot dead. “He’s such a peaceful guy and getting shot — it’s the last thing I’d expect happening to him,” said Waugh. “He always cared about the people around him more than himself.”

Waugh saw Bloomfield as a down-to-earth guy. “He was like a hippie person, always trying to find spirituality and find himself and try to make more of this life.”

In a rambling note on a Facebook account under the name Chris “Shroomfield” posted on Nov. 8, the writer said he went to a party on a hippie commune and “stayed on mushrooms, Psilocybe and Amanita muscaria and LSD-25 for most of the duration of the party and had a wonderful time.”

“A bunch of the true hippies went for a forest hike and picked mushrooms. We made a communal meal,” he wrote.

Then the post spirals into a disturbing tale of a serious assault: “I found some people to help me and they got me food and shelter while I waited to be saved by my mother.” He ended by saying: “I wish veryone love and forgiveness for all your sins.”

Friends said Facebook account belonged to Bloomfield.

Green said Bloomfield had “some emotional problems, but he never showed any sort of aggression in our home.”

Waugh said he believed his friend had mental-health problems and took drugs such as LSD, and the two “probably didn’t help each other at all. ... Sometimes it would be hard to understand what he was talking about and he’d be more confused than anything.”

The shooting death is being probed by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. The provincial agency independently reviews all deaths and injuries that involve police.

ceharnett@timescolonist.com

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