Coroner's inquest for B.C. man shot and killed by RCMP officer in 2014 underway

Peter de Groot was shot to death by police in October 2014, and his family still has questions about how the situation unfolded.

A coroner’s inquest looking into the death of a man who was shot and killed by an RCMP officer almost seven years ago in southeastern B.C. began hearing testimony in Nelson on Monday.

Peter de Groot was fatally shot at a remote cabin in the Slocan area in October 2014. Police said the 45-year-old exchanged gunfire with officers who initially came to his home, and then fled, triggering a four-day search.

The inquest was initially scheduled for spring of 2020, but was delayed by the pandemic. The proceedings are being made available for public viewing via livestream, but technical issues beginning Monday morning led to the audio portion being unavailable.

In 2019, de Groot’s sister Danna spoke to CTV News Vancouver, and said his family is hoping the inquest will provide answers to a number of questions, including why police attended his home in the first place, and why she was prevented from contacting him in an attempt to bring the situation to an end.

“He was not the person they portrayed him to be,” she said. “He was very, very special to a lot of people. He was super intelligent.”

She said her brother had been a PhD candidate, but suffered an aneurysm at age 29, and following that had worked hard to build the kind of life he wanted, which included independence and being close to nature.

In 2018, the officer who shot and killed de Groot was cleared of wrongdoing by the Independent Investigations Office. Cpl. Brian Burke launched a lawsuit against the police watchdog, claiming their lengthy investigation worsened the post-traumatic stress disorder he had been diagnosed with prior to the fatal shooting.

The family of de Groot also has a civil lawsuit against the RCMP, which they have previously said is being deferred until the inquest concludes.

The inquest is scheduled to run until Oct. 8.