Fatal shooting inquest sparks call for more police training

More de-escalation training for Vancouver police is being recommended after a coroner's inquest into the shooting death of a man who was stabbing people in the city's Downtown Eastside.

Mandatory training for at least 1 less-lethal use-of-force tool recommended

Abdi Hirsi in an undated photograph. It was posted on April 14, 2015, just days after the 26-year-old man was shot. (Saed Farah/Facebook)

More de-escalation training for Vancouver police is being recommended after a coroner's inquest into the shooting death of a man who was stabbing people in the city's Downtown Eastside.

Police say 26-year-old Abdi Hirsi, who was from Edmonton, was killed during a confrontation with an officer in 2015, after he stabbed three people.

In a statement at the time, the department said officers unsuccessfully tried to arrest the man and fired multiple bean bag rounds in an attempt to control him, then shot him when he started to stab a woman.

In its inquest verdict, the coroner's jury says the police department should consider better communications training for officers in high-stress situations, and review its existing de-escalation policies.

It recommends mandatory training for officers in the use of at least one less-lethal use-of-force tool beyond what is taught in basic training, and annually reviewing those options.

It also suggests requiring all police vehicles to have cameras and that officers wear body cameras.

The coroner ruled Hirsi died of internal injuries caused by multiple gunshot wounds.

The inquest jury is also recommending that the B.C. Ambulance Service review its policy defining the circumstances in which paramedics may determine "obvious death" and not provide medical interventions.

The jury also notes that the chief coroner should hold inquests within one year of an investigation concluding to ensure accuracy of recollections and closure for families.

Hirsi's family responds

Habibi Abdulle (L), with Hirsi's mother, Hodan Mahamud (R), outside the hearing. (Ken Leedham/CBC )

The family of Abdi Hirsi attended the inquest. Habiba Abdulle, who spoke on behalf of Hirsi's mom, Hodan Mahamud, said although it had been a difficult week, the family was happy with the jury's decision. 

"They are happy with the recommendations they have made because [Hirsi's] mom and the community at large believes that if the police followed the protocols ... Mr. Hirsi would be alive," Abdulle said.

Abdulle said the family hoped the recommendations can be put in place.

"No family should have to go through what they have went through," she said.