British Columbia

Starlight Casino police shooting inquest begins

A coroner's inquest will begin Tuesday morning into a fatal police shooting outside a New Westminster's Starlight Casino four years ago.

Mehrdad Bayrami was shot by Const. Jordan MacWilliams in 2012 during armed standoff outside casino

A five-hour standoff ended when Delta Police Const. Jordan MacWilliams shot Mehrdad Bayrami in front of the Starlight Casino in New Westminster, B.C. (Shane MacKichan/CBC)

A coroner's inquest will begin Tuesday morning into a fatal police shooting during an armed standoff outside a New Westminster's Starlight Casino four years ago.

Mehrdad Bayrami was shot by Delta Police Const. Jordan MacWilliams in Nov. 2012, after an emergency response team (ERT) responded to reports of a distraught man with a gun in the parking lot.

During the five-hour standoff, police could be heard imploring Bayrami to drop his weapon — then he was shot by MacWilliams.

MacWilliams was charged with second degree murder, but that charge was stayed; the criminal justice branch said the evidence didn't support a viable prosecution.

The case caused particular controversy, due to the decision by Delta Police Association to sell wristbands on the police department website expressing support for MacWilliams before the charges were stayed.

The wristbands were pulled after critics questioned how the department could work with the Crown, while advertising a campaign that challenged the wisdom of their charges.

MacWilliams still accused in civil lawsuit

Although the charges have been stayed, MacWilliams still faces a civil lawsuit from Bayrami's daughter, filed in B.C. Supreme Court last year.

Nousha Bayrami claims her father was involved in a domestic dispute at the casino, but walked away, alone, to a paved pathway near the casino.

She claims he was backing away, with both arms by his side, when MacWilliams shot him.

In a response to the lawsuit in April 2015, MacWilliams said he shot Bayrami out of fear the man would kill himself or others and had pointed a gun at members of the ERT seconds before he was shot.

During the inquest, a coroner's jury will hear from witnesses about the circumstances that led to the shooting and make recommendations to prevent similar deaths.