Public inquest launched into death of Victoria man shot by police

Rhett Mutch was fatally shot by police on Nov. 1, 2014.

Rhett Mutch is shown in a B.C. Coroners Service handout photo. Mutch has been identified as the man who died after a police shooting in Victoria on Nov. 1. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-B.C. Coroners Service photo.

The B.C. Coroners Service will be holding a public inquest into the death of Rhett Mutch after the Victoria man was shot by police three years ago.

As part of the inquest slated to begin Monday, May 15 in Victoria Supreme Court, presiding coroner Donita Kuzma and a jury will hear evidence from witnesses to determine the facts surrounding the 20-year-old’s death. The jury will also have the opportunity to make recommendations aimed at preventing deaths under similar circumstances.

On Nov. 1, 2014, police were called to the Mutch’s home on Dallas Road, after he entered the home, despite a court order that only allowed him to come by with his mother, Marney’s consent. According to an earlier report by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. (IIO), the body responsible for investigating all officer-related incidents that result in death or serious harm, Rhett had threatened to harm himself with a knife.

After police arrived and repeatedly asked Mutch to put down the knife, he allegedly ran towards officers without warning. One officer shot Mutch once with a bean bag shotgun, which had no affect. Then another officer fired another shot from a .45 caliber firearm, striking him in the neck. He died shortly after in the ambulance.

In June of last year, the IIO cleared the officer who fired the fatal shot of any wrongdoing. However, the investigation found “significant” issues and concerns regarding officer tactics, primarily related to a basic lack of adequate communication amongst and between the officers involved.

Marney filed a wrongful death lawsuit agains the Victoria Police Department and the City of Victoria in November.

kendra.wong@vicnews.com