Review finds charges not warranted in fatal police shooting of Manitoba man

WINNIPEG — Manitoba's police watchdog says charges will not be laid against three RCMP officers involved in the death of an 18-year-old prisoner who was shot on two occasions during an escape bid.

The Independent Investigation Unit says in a statement that a review of the evidence by Manitoba Prosecution Services has determined there is no reasonable likelihood the officers would be convicted.

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The unit says one of the Mounties was taking a remanded prisoner by van from Lundar to Winnipeg on Nov. 14, 2017, when the man assaulted the officer and was shot before he took the Mountie's gun and fled in the van.

The escapee was tracked down near Lake Manitoba First Nation and a chase that ensued came to an end when the vehicle went into a ditch.

The unit says the man was shot by two members RCMP emergency response officers during the course of his arrest and died at the scene.

Manitoba's chief medical officer announced last June that an inquest will be held.

The prisoner was later identified by the chief of Lake Manitoba First Nation as Billy Saunders, who was accused of robbing a video lottery terminal worker the weekend before his death.

The investigation unit says its review into the shootings included statements from police and civilian witnesses, video from RCMP vehicles and firearm examinations.

An expert in police use of force was asked to provide an opinion on the actions and tactics used in both instances.

The file was handed over to Manitoba Prosecution Services, which reviewed the findings and concluded that neither shooting met the standard to lay charges.

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