The Independent Investigations Office has cleared two RCMP officers in the shooting death of a man in Mill Bay in November of 2018.
On Nov. 10, 2018, officers from the Shawnigan Lake RCMP detachment were following up on an assault investigation in the 1100 block of Shawnigan-Mill Bay Road.
Shortly after noon on that day, officers arrived at a home in the Cedar Creek Mobile Home Park to arrest Chris Bloomfield in connection with the assault.
When they entered the residence, Bloomfield advanced on them with what police described as an “edged weapon.” Officers attempted to subdue him with a Taser, but were unsuccessful. Police then fired shots, with five of six hitting the man.
He was transported to hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.
The IIO found that officers were justified in fearing for their lives and safety during the incident.
Autopsy results found that Bloomfield was intoxicated on numerous drugs that day, finding cannabis, codeine, ecstasy, cocaine, benzoylecgonine, ketamine, an antihistaminie and hallucinogen methoxyphencyclindine in his blood.
Following the hit from the Taser being ineffective to subdue Bloomfield, the situation became critical.
“The evidence is that consequently AP [Bloomfield] was able to turn his attention from SO1 [subject officer 1] to SO2 [subject officer 2] and to charge him, stabbing or slashing with the knife,” the IIO report from Chief Civilian Director Ronald J. MacDonald reads. “The statements of both officers include this allegation, and the cut on the finger of SO2’s glove corroborates it. In those circumstances, SO2 was faced with a very real threat of grievous bodily harm or death. There were reasonable grounds for SO2 to believe that it was necessary for the purpose of self-preservation to use lethal force in response, and SO1 was similarly justified in using lethal force to defend both SO2 and himself.
“Accordingly, as the Chief Civilian Director of the IIO, I do not consider that there are reasonable grounds to believe that an officer may have committed an offence under any enactment and therefore the matter will not be referred to Crown counsel for consideration of charges,” the report concludes.
MacDonald further noted that the timeline of the investigation that has taken more than two years to complete is partly due to the RCMP officers involved taking 19 months to submit written statements about the incident. The watchdog cannot mandate officers to talk to the investigators nor seize their notes and reports. Without this information, MacDonald said, the IIO could not make its determination, as the officers were the only witnesses to see the shooting.