Union expresses concern over escalating violence after man shot, killed by police

The fatal police shooting of a distraught man near Mayfair mall Sunday morning has ramped up the Victoria police union’s concerns about escalating violence on the city’s streets.

Around 10 a.m. Sunday, Saanich police responded to reports of an armed man “in crisis” making threats near Douglas Street at Tolmie Avenue. At the scene, the officers learned that the man had stolen from a nearby liquor store while armed.

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Several Victoria police officers arrived to assist Saanich. They tried to negotiate with the man for almost an hour. Around 11 a.m., there was an interaction and the man was shot and killed. No officers were injured.

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating, and will examine the man’s interactions with both the medical and criminal justice systems.

Victoria Police Chief Manak and the police officers union offered their condolences to the man’s family.

On Monday, spokesman Matt Waterman said the Victoria police union is concerned about Sunday’s incident and numerous other recent occurrences where officers and members of the public have been assaulted.

People in crisis are not getting the support they need, said the staff sergeant.

“Those people are having to navigate a difficult and unhelpful system. We continue to call for more support from municipal and provincial officials to address the challenges related to mental health that are greatly impacting our community,” said Waterman.

In the last month, there have been two major incidents where police officers have been attacked and suffered serious injuries.

Members of the public, including a five-year-old boy and a 72-year-old woman, have also been randomly assaulted downtown.

This is the second officer-involved shooting in Victoria in the past six months. In March, a man brandishing a weapon in the emergency department at Royal Jubilee Hospital was shot and injured by police who were already at the hospital dealing with an unrelated matter.

ldickson@timescolonist.com

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