Watchdog says Moncton man shot and killed by police was wielding knife
Independent watchdog has taken over investigation into Sunday's police shooting of 24-year-old man
The 24-year-old man fatally shot by RCMP on Sunday afternoon in Moncton's Sunny Brae neighbourhood was wielding a knife, according to the police watchdog investigating the death.
The Serious Incident Response Team was called in after the man was shot dead in his apartment during an altercation with police around 2 p.m. on Somerset Drive.
Felix Cacchione, director of SIRT, the independent body that investigates serious injuries or deaths at the hands of police, said the man had a "long" kitchen knife as he moved toward an RCMP officer in the apartment.
A stun gun was used without success, and the officer shot him. People who live inside the building say they heard four to six shots fired.
Police would not say how many shots were fired.
RCMP would also not say why police were called to the apartment in the first place.
The man, who has not been identified, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Two RCMP officers responded to the 911 call, which came from someone who shared the apartment with the man.
The officer who fired the shots had been with the force less than a year, Cacchione said.
According to Cacchione, both prongs of a Taser have to go through an individual for the device to work.
He said it is possible for people to pull out one of the prongs, meaning no current would go through, although he could not say if that was the case here.
'Things occur very fast'
Four investigators from Halifax will look into the circumstances that led to the firearm being discharged, including the size of the room they were in, the proximity between the man and the officer and whether police followed guidelines.
"These situations are very dynamic, things occur very fast," said Cacchione.
He said there is a spectrum that officers are trained in.
"You talk to the person to try to to ease the situation," said Cacchione. "You move from that into a soft restraint, to then a hard restraint.
"And if you get to the point where there is the potential or the reality of grievous bodily harm or death to the officer, then the use of a weapon is justified. But you can't just sort of start with a weapon."
Neighbour Claire Desroches has lived on Somerset Drive for 20 years. She was having brunch in her backyard with friends, when she heard the sirens Sunday.
She said this is a normally a quiet, residential neighbourhood. In the last year, there has been an increased police presence in front of the apartment complex, especially during the night hours, but most residents still feel the area is safe, she said.
"We're maybe curious, but we're not worried," she said.
The investigation could take three to six months to complete.
It will include forensic and pathology testing, as well as firearms testing to determine whether the officer's weapon was in proper working order. The investigators were also canvassing the area to determine what neighbours heard or saw.