How the Don Dunphy case differs from previous police shootings
Man points weapon at officer, officer shoots to kill. It's an unfortunate but familiar story, but what happened in Mitchells Brook on Easter Sunday varies from other incidents in Newfoundland and Labrador that involved fatal shootings by police officers.
- Don Dunphy aimed loaded rifle at cop prior to fatal shooting, RCMP say
- 5 lingering questions in the fatal shooting of Don Dunphy
In the last two decades, three other men have been shot and killed by police. All three deaths resulted in judicial inquiries and legislative changes.
The provincial government isn't saying whether or not it will order a judicial inquiry into the death of Don Dunphy.
An RCMP investigation has so far found that Don Dunphy pointed a .22-calibre rifle at a Royal Newfoundland Constabulary officer inside Dunphy's home in the Mount Carmel area on Sunday.
The officer shot and killed Dunphy, 59.
There were no other witnesses.
Similar scenarios have played out in the past, in different parts of Newfoundland and Labrador.
On March 2, 1996, the RCMP responded to a domestic disturbance at a home in Point May on the Burin Peninsula. Inside the home, Nicholas Benteau pointed a gun at an officer. Another responding officer shot Benteau in the back, killing him.
On Aug. 26, 2000, the RCMP responded to a complaint that a mentally ill man was threatening children on the Bonavista Peninsula.
Three officers showed up at Norman Reid's home in Little Catalina. Reid charged at the officers with an axe. An officer shot him five times.
Just a few months later, on Oct. 16, 2000, Darryl Power was shot and killed by police in his mother's backyard in Corner Brook.
He was suicidal and had called 911 for help. When police arrived, Power came at them with knives and was killed. A judge later accepted testimony that Power brought about his own death in what is called "suicide by cop."
All three killings resulted in judicial inquiries (the Reid and Power cases were heard together) as well as changes to mental health legislation.
In the 2000 shootings, a judge found that provincial services failed two mentally ill men, resulting in their tragic deaths.
In all three killings, a judge found that police responded appropriately.
A judicial inquiry is not automatic when police kill civilians. It's up to the justice minister to order one.
In the case of Don Dunphy, police are still investigating what happened on Sunday and details are emerging about his background and mental health status.
Until all of that comes into focus, it's not likely that the justice minister will determine the need for an inquiry.