B.C.’s police oversight agency has reopened its investigation into the death of a man who died of self-inflicted injuries during a standoff in northern B.C. last summer.

On Aug. 15, 2023, Mounties responded to a call about a man making threats to workers at a pipeline site in Mackenzie, B.C. He reportedly had a rifle and ammunition in his vehicle and the worksite was evacuated, according to police.

MacKenzie RCMP and the North District Emergency Response Team then “set up containment” at the man’s home, according to a news release from the time of the incident.

Police said they repeatedly attempted to get the man to surrender, but during the standoff they heard a loud bang inside. The man was then found dead in the home.

As with any police incident that results in death or serious harm to a member of the public, the Independent Investigations Office was called in to determine if any officers committed an offence.

In January, the IIO concluded its investigation and said it found “no negligence on the part of the police and that officers’ actions were lawful and not unreasonable under the circumstances.”

In its Jan. 5, 2024, news release about the investigation, the IIO provided some more details about the incident, including that police negotiators spoke to the man over the phone several times, “some of them lengthy,” during the hours-long standoff.

“All of those attempts were unsuccessful. During one call, the affected person told police he was watching them through his rifle scope,” the IIO wrote.

Police later considered entering the home, and used two “distraction devices” first, according to the office. About a minute later, the bang was heard during a call between a police negotiator and the man.

The IIO’s initial investigation determined no officers discharged their firearms, and an autopsy confirmed the man’s injury was self-inflicted.

However, on Friday, the IIO said new information led it to reopen the investigation.

“In a recent meeting with the family and community of the deceased, additional lines of inquiry were identified with regards to the Aug. 15, 2023 incident that resulted in the death of one man,” it wrote.

“Therefore, the IIO investigation has been reopened to pursue this additional information and ensure all facts of potential evidentiary value have been exhausted.”

Anyone with information about the incident can call the IIO’s witness line at 1-855-446-8477.


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