Man dead after shooting involving RCMP near Tofino; First Nation wants to be part of probe

The shooting death of an Opitsaht man near Tofino by RCMP has revived memories and anger around the death of Chantel Moore, also a Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation member, who was shot by police in New Brunswick.

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the circumstances around the man’s death, the office said in a Sunday statement.

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Two Tofino RCMP officers went to Opitsaht on Meares Island on Saturday evening to respond to a call which included allegations that a woman was being held against her will, B.C. RCMP said in a statement.

Police arrived at the home at about 9:30 p.m. that day.

“When they arrived an interaction took place and one male was shot and another was taken into custody,” the statement said.

The woman was found and taken to hospital to be assessed. No one else was injured.

The RCMP Vancouver Island general investigative section is investigating the shooting, police said.

A male is in police custody.

Opitsaht is a small community based on Meares Island and part of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation.

Moses Martin, chief councillor of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation, said Sunday that he has contacted the sergeant with Tofino RCMP and asked for their First Nation to be part of the investigation

The man who died was close to 30 years old and had attended school with his own boys, Martin said.

Martin identified him as Julian Lucas, saying he had been using his stepfather’s last name. His father’s last name is Jones.

Julian Lucas had been under the care of his mother and stepfather, Martin said.

A man stated on social media that the dead man was his brother, describing him as a helpful and respectful person.

Many postings on social media are expressing frustration that a First Nation member had died during an incident with police.

Martin called it an “unnecessary tragedy” and recalled Chantel Moore, 26, who was shot during a wellness check by police in Edmundston, New Brunswick, in June last year.

Police said that Moore, previously of Port Alberni, had threatened an officer with a knife. Moore’s family does not accept that, saying she was petite and harmless.

Moore had moved to New Brunswick to be closer to her mother and her six-year-old daughter.

Martin said, “here we are again a few months later and the same sort of tragedy again. Another shooting.”

He called for police to wear body cameras to provide a record of incidents.

Martin is also advocating for more support to deal with drug and alcohol issues in their communities.

cjwilson@timescolonist.com

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