Car-jacking suspect dead in police shooting at Departure Bay ferry terminal

A suspect in a car-jacking is dead after a police shooting at the Departure Bay ferry terminal in Nanaimo.

Former Saanich mayor says he heard 6 to 8 shots at the Nanaimo, B.C., terminal

A man is dead after police opened fire while attempting to arrest a car-jacking suspect at the Departure Bay ferry terminal in Nanaimo. (CHEK TV)

A suspect in a car-jacking is dead after a police shooting at the Departure Bay ferry terminal in Nanaimo, B.C.

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. and the B.C. Coroners Service have both been called to investigate the mid-morning incident. 

According to RCMP, officers were attempting to arrest a man who was suspected in a violent car-jacking in another part of the province.

"The vehicle was stopped by police and a takedown was initiated as the male disembarked from the ferry," Mounties said in a news release.

"Initial information based on police accounts is that the male exited the vehicle, with what police believed was a firearm, and shots were fired resulting in the male sustaining serious injuries."

The man later died of his injuries. No one else was hurt.

Witness recounts confrontation

Former Saanich mayor Frank Leonard, who was lined up to board at the time of the incident, told CBC News he heard several shots fired.

He said unloading had just begun for the Queen of Cowichan, and only a few cars and a couple of motorcycles had driven off the ship at the time.

"There was a gap in the unloading of the ferry," Leonard said.

"I heard what I thought was a backfire, and then only seconds after that — two, three, four, five seconds — what sounded like gunshots, maybe six to eight."

He said the sound came from the exit lanes that lead out of the terminal and into the city. 

"I noticed a couple of men in plainclothes walking briskly from where the ferry had docked to where this incident was," Leonard recalled.

He walked a bit closer and saw a cluster of unmarked police vehicles with their lights flashing, though the scene was "very, very quiet." An ambulance arrived a few minutes later.

BC Ferries has released very few details, but a scheduled 10:40 a.m. sailing was running about half an hour late.

"Ships will be running a bit behind schedule," spokesperson Deborah Marshall told CBC. She said travellers should check BC Ferries' website for updates.