After two weeks of testimony, the B.C. Coroners Service inquest into the police shooting death of a Prince George veteran adjourned until the New Year, but not before the officer who shot the former soldier took the stand.
Greg Matters, 40, was shot in the back by an RCMP officer last September, after a lengthy confrontation on the rural property outside Prince George, where he lived with his mother. The RCMP wanted to arrest Matters for assaulting his brother.
On Friday, Cpl. Colin Warwick told the inquest he shot Matters because he believed Matters was about to attack another officer.
Warwick said it appeared Matters was about to surrender, but then he pulled a hatchet out of his sweater.
Another officer attempted to hit Matters with a stun gun, but it didn't work. Warwick then shot Matters twice in the back.
He says he thought his teammate's life was in danger.
Sister says public trust violated
Sister Tracey Matters told CBC News she doesn't believe her brother posed any danger to the officers.
"It was 40 hours before they actually shot my brother Greg. In the minutes leading up to Greg's death, I don't see any reason why the situation couldn't have been de-escalated, and why they couldn't have waited a little longer," she told CBC News. "I'm still perplexed about what the sense of urgency was."
She said the death of her brother at the hands of police has shattered the trust that she, and others in the her community, had in the force.
"I think it's going to be a long, hard slog before the public regains a sense of confidence and trust, and big changes are going to have to be made, and made quickly, in order for the public to trust the police again," she said.
Matters served as a peacekeeper in Bosnia, and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Tracey Matters said she believes the officer's actions triggered her brother's PTSD, and caused his behaviour to escalate. She hopes the inquest's jury will make recommendations about how RCMP deal with PTSD.
Several RCMP officers have yet to testify before the inquest, which is scheduled to reconvene in January 2014.