British Columbia

Public inquest into shooting of mentally ill Vancouver man begins

A public inquest into the police-involved shooting death of Phuong Na 'Tony' Du begins Monday, more than three years after he was killed.

Phuong Na 'Tony' Du was fatally shot by police in 2014; criminal charges weren't recommended

Vancouver police examine clothing left on the street following the shooting that left Tony Du dead on Nov. 22, 2014. A public inquest into the 51-year-old's death begins Monday. (CBC)

A public inquest into the police-involved shooting death of a Vancouver man begins Monday, more than three years after he was killed.

Phuong Na Du, or Tony Du, was shot dead after police were called to a scene at Knight Street near East 41st Avenue on Nov. 22, 2014.

Witnesses said Du, who had schizophrenia, was distraught and holding a wooden two-by-four. At the time, police said he didn't listen to responding officers.

One used a beanbag shotgun to try to disarm Du before the second officer shot him with a firearm.

Du was hospitalized but later died of his injuries. He was 51.

Investigators gather evidence at Knight Street near East 41st Avenue after Du was shot and killed on Nov. 22, 2014. Officers had been responding to reports of a man waving a wooden two-by-four. (CBC)

IIO investigation, family lawsuit

The province's Independent Investigations Office reviewed the case, but no charges were recommended.

In its report, the Criminal Justice Branch said the officer used his gun based on the belief that his partner's life was in danger.

Du's family sued that officer as well as the City of Vancouver in late 2016.

The IIO report said police killed Du less than 30 seconds after arriving at the scene — not long enough to try to talk to him or to establish his mental health condition, according to the family lawyer.

Du's sister attended a rally at Vancouver police headquarters in February 2017. Du was shot by a police officer more than three years ago and his family has since sued the city. (CBC )

The inquest into Du's death is being held at the B.C. Coroners Court in Burnaby.

Jurors will have the opportunity to make recommendations to prevent similar deaths, but it can't make any findings of legal responsibility or express any conclusion of law.