Man slain by Vancouver police trying to flee: witness

A man shot and killed by Vancouver police on Monday night seemed to be trying to flee arresting officers, a witness says.

Victim, 39, still unidentified

A man shot and killed by Vancouver police on Monday night seemed to be trying to flee arresting officers, a witness says.

Vancouver's new police chief, Jim Chu,offered few details in a media briefing on Tuesday aboutthe fatal shooting Monday night in the South Granville area,saying several investigations are underway.

The intersection of Granville Street and 16th Avenue was cordoned off after the police shooting and remained closed during the Tuesday morning rush hour. ((CBC))

Hedid say the officer who fired the fatal shot has three years experience on the force.

On Monday night, police spokesman Const. Howard Chow said the victim, 39, who has notbeen identified,was shot after he began assaulting officers, who wereresponding to a 911 call, with a potentially lethal weapon.

But Christine Adkins told CBC News she was a block and half away on Granville Street when a police car arrivedat the scene.

She said she did not see the alleged assaults but she saw the man attempting to flee when he was shot by police in the middle of traffic.

"A big guy in white sort of just ran out into traffic and he was sort of holding up his hands as if [to say] 'cars, don't hit me,' but cars were going very slow anyways. And there was a voice yelling, 'lie down, lie down,' and then they just started shooting," Adkins said.

"If there was an altercation with police it happened on the sidewalk, on the east side which we did not see, because at this point it seemed like he was fleeing," Adkins said.

Police guard the body of the man shot to death by an officer on Monday night. ((CBC))

"He was trying to cross the street, got most of the way across Granville and had nowhere to go … and then turned around … He was metres away from any other person when the shooting started … there was nobody withintwo orthree metres of him," Adkins said.

Adkins said she did not see anything in the man's hands at the time he was shotbecauseit was dark. She said after the shooting started she lay on the ground and counted nine shots fired.

Other witnesses said they heard between six to eight shots fired. Police said they do not know how many bullets were fired.

Saw shooting

Another witness, who asked not to be identified, said he was just leaving a coffee house two blocks away when he saw police begin shooting.

"There were a number of rounds being fired and the officer involved appeared to be very composed at what he or she was doing."

Chow told reporters Monday night said the incident began when police responded to a 911 call about a street fight near West 16th Avenue and Granville Street atabout 9:30 p.m. PT. The caller said two men were beating another man.

Chow said officers quickly arrived at the scene.

A manwas seated at a bus stop when police confronted him and that's when he started swinging a chain with a lock on it, Chow said.

"As they got out of their vehicle, a man attacked them with a chain, striking one of our members in the head, the second one in the face," Chow said.

Chow said a third officer shot the man. Paramedics tried to revive the man but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

One of the officers was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.