A man dressed in black and behaving erratically outside an apartment building on Skeena Street at East Hastings was shot dead by Vancouver police Monday night.
A resident of The Jasmine building in the 400-block Skeena St. said she saw the man outside the main doors at around 8 p.m. The resident, who didn’t want her name published, said the man was “jumping up and down” and looking under shrubs before smashing a window in the lobby.
“It scared the daylights out of me and I got into the elevator,” said the woman, pointing to the lobby window cracked in the shape of a dinner plate, with broken glass caught between the two panes.
The man, whom the resident described as bald, mid-30s and wearing black clothing, then ran behind the building towards a McDonald’s restaurant parking lot on East Hastings. Moments later, police shot the man, who later died in hospital. The resident of the 60-unit building didn’t witness the shooting but police took her first to McDonald’s for questioning and then to the Vancouver Police Department’s precinct near Boundary and East First.
She estimated 18 witnesses were interviewed, including people coming out of a gym across the street from McDonald’s. The Courier spoke to a gym employee who was told by her manager not to talk with media.
The newly created Independent Investigations Office is investigating the shooting. The initial release from the Vancouver Police Department said an officer was confronted by a man with a knife. The independent office made no mention of a knife in two media releases. The resident said she did not see the man carrying a knife.
The independent office was notified of the shooting at 9:05 p.m. The VPD’s release says officers responded to a 911 call at 8:15 p.m. of windows being smashed in the 400-block of Skeena Street. On Tuesday morning, investigators had police tape running along the east side of East Hastings from Skeena to Cassiar. Five cars in the McDonald’s parking lot were also surrounded by police tape.
An evidence marker and a blue surgical glove were noticeable on a sidewalk on East Hastings under a portable tent set up outside the McDonald’s parking lot. Kellie Kilpatrick, a spokesperson for the independent office, declined to disclose the location of where police shot the man or number of shots fired.
The investigations office has an agreement with B.C. police forces, including the VPD to work cooperatively with independent investigators. VPD members fanned out in a line Tuesday morning across East Hastings and slowly walked up the street, searching for evidence. VPD officers were also keeping people from crossing police lines.
The shooting is the second Vancouver case being investigated by the independent office, which began operating in September. The office is civilian-led and has the power to recommend criminal charges against police.
The first Vancouver case involved Stanley Robert Morrison, who died in hospital Oct. 7 after being in police custody. Morrison was banned from the city’s main detox and sobering unit. Police decided to transport Morrison home. He became unresponsive when officers prepared to release him. Paramedics transported him to hospital, where he died.