It could be several months before the Independent Investigations Office (IIO) completes its investigation into an incident in Tsawwassen that has left one man dead after he allegedly stole a taxi Friday night from the Tsawwassen ferry terminal.
IIO Chief Civilian Director Ron MacDonald told the Optimist Monday afternoon that they are well into this investigation.
“The matter arose late Friday night, into early Saturday morning and our team responded Saturday,” MacDonald said. “Our forensics team was on scene for a good part of the day. We have been doing canvassing to find civilian witness and or any witnesses for that matter in the area both Saturday and Sunday. That work continues. We are starting now to analysis some of the evidence we have gathered, access some of the evidence we have from the police and starting to access what if any witness evidence we have.
“This will take some time. An investigation of this nature, especially given that we will likely have to await the results of an autopsy to determine cause of death, will take some time. We may complete a lot of our work, but you are looking at a period of some months before we will likely be finished.”
According to a news release from Delta police, officers were called regarding a taxi theft at the BC Ferries causeway at approximately 11:30 p.m. May 29.
DPD say at the time of the theft two individuals were in the process of loading into the taxi, however, they were not in the vehicle when it was driven away.
Police responded within a few minutes, and located what was believed to be the stolen vehicle, being driven on the causeway. The driver of this vehicle then exited the taxi, and engaged with police. Other officers responded to the scene as well.
DPD said no officers were hurt during the altercation.
According to the IIO, the suspect fled towards the ferry causeway beach. The man reportedly produced weapons and was taken into custody. During the course of his arrest, the man suffered serious injuries.
The IIO said paramedics were called, and the man was transported to hospital where he was subsequently pronounced deceased.
The BC Coroners Service is conducting an independent investigation to determine how, where, when and by what means he came to his death.
MacDonald said the IIO will not be releasing the identity of the deceased.
“Our policy is that we do not release the names of the person(s) involved in our investigations,” he said. “In my view the law does not permit us to do that.”
Weapons were recovered from the scene by the IIO, but MacDonald said they can’t comment on what those weapons were.
“It’s very important, especially early in an investigation, not to put out information that could taint the memories of those we have not spoken to yet. We want to let people understand potentially the nature of this encounter, but we don’t want to go too further into detail,” he said.
The IIO is asking that any witnesses who saw, heard or recorded the incident, to contact the IIO Witness Line toll free at 1-855-446-8477.
“We are always looking for witnesses. Sometimes people come forward quickly, other times people wait awhile, but it doesn’t matter even if it is a few weeks, we want to hear from you,” added MacDonald.
The IIO is the independent civilian oversight agency of the police in British Columbia. It investigates all officer-related incidents that result in serious harm or death, whether or not there is any allegation of wrongdoing.