Public inquest ordered for shooting of distraught man holding two-by-four

Phuong Na (Tony) Du died in a fatal encounter with police in 2014 on Knight Street near East 41st Avenue.

Police said Phuong Na (Tony) Du refused to comply with officers' directions during Knight Street confrontation

An image taken by a witness to a police incident involving VPD officers and 51-year-old Tony Du from 2014. (Ron Dunnett/YouTube)

The BC Coroners Service will hold a public inquest into the death of a 51-year-old man who was fatally shot in 2014 by police on Knight Street near 41st Avenue in Vancouver.

Police say Phuong Na (Tony) Du was distraught and refused to comply to officer's directions as he held a wooden two-by-four.

Two officers responded to calls about Du, who suffered from mental illness.

One used a bean bag shotgun to attempt to disarm Du before another officer shot him using a firearm.

Du was taken to hospital where he died of his injuries.

The province's Independent Investigations Office was called in to review the case but no charges were recommended by the Criminal Justice Branch (CJB) for the two officers involved.

In its report, the CJB said the use of a firearm by one of the officers was justifiable based on his belief that his partner's life was in danger.

In February 2017, the victim's family launched a civil suit against the City of Vancouver and the police officer involved in the shooting.

Lawyers representing Du's family say he was killed between 18 and 25 seconds after police arrived on the scene — not long enough for police to to initiate a conversation with Du or establish his mental condition.

The public inquest into Du's death will begin on Feb 5, 2018, at the Burnaby Coroners' Court.

The jury will have the opportunity to make recommendations aimed at preventing deaths under similar circumstances but cannot make any finding of legal responsibility or express any conclusion of law.