Rodney Levi a welcome guest in minister's home, church confirms
Chief Bill Ward asks for community to respect family wishes as investigation continues
While the location of where Rodney Levi was fatally shot by a member of the Sunny Corner RCMP has not been officially confirmed by New Brunswick RCMP, the Boom Road Pentecostal Church issued a statement about it Sunday.
The church posted what it called an official statement regarding an incident that occurred at the church parsonage on Friday.
In it, lead pastor Brodie MacLeod said Levi was a welcome guest at "our home and he attended our residence where he shared a meal with my family and I on Friday evening."
Levi, 48, was shot by a police officer who was responding to a call for an unwanted person at an address on Boom Road.
RCMP say police were confronted by a man carrying knives. A stun gun was deployed several times but was unsuccessful. A member of the RCMP discharged a firearm.
The pastor does not offer further details about Friday's events but said he was sharing the information "only to address the inaccurate information that is circulating in the community and on social media."
In a Facebook Live video Saturday, Metepenagiag First Nation Chief Bill Ward said he was told Levi was invited to the minister's home for a barbecue.
"He was at a house across the river by the Boom Road church. He was visiting the minister. He went to church there."
Ward said he was told Levi was invited to a barbecue. "He was definitely welcome there."
But there came a point he was no longer welcome and police were called.
- Rodney Levi, Chantel Moore shooting deaths put focus on recent police encounters with Indigenous community
"He might have been going through a little state," said Ward. "I don't think he was going to hurt anybody."
The details of what happened during the incident will be reviewed by Quebec's Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes (BEI), which investigates cases where civilians are seriously injured or killed in police operations.
In his statement, MacLeod said Levi attended church, was loved by the congregation and will be missed.
"We recognize this is a deep loss to the Metepenagiag Mi'kmaq First Nation Community. We are praying for his family, his friends, the Mi'kmaq people."
MacLeod said they are co-operating with police and will have no further comment.
Meanwhile, Ward issued a statement Sunday at the request of Levi's family asking that community members refrain from making statements to the media about Levi.
"I, as well, will respect this request at this time."
In his post, Ward said the BEI is working with the family on the investigation "and would like to get the best picture possible of the events on that day. Please respect this investigation."
Ward said the family will reach out to the media when it is ready.