Friends, family speak out after fatal police shooting in Campbell River
The family of a man shot by police earlier this week in Campbell River is speaking out, saying guns never should have been drawn.
RCMP opened fire on Jared Lowndes in the parking lot of the Tim Hortons in the 2000 block of South Island Highway on Thursday morning.
Police had attempted to stop Lowndes on an outstanding warrant associated with his vehicle, and they said in a news release after the shooting that he had failed to stop for them.
When they located his vehicle in the Tim Hortons parking lot later, they boxed him in and sent a police dog named Gator after him. Lowndes stabbed and killed Gator right before officers shot him. The dog's handler was also injured in the altercation.
The Indigenous man's friends and supporters say officers didn't need to call in a police dog and didn't need to use lethal force.
"There was no need to shoot someone like Jared in the head like that," said Krista Hackett, the mother of the slain man's two daughters.
“They are going to have a life long, you know, emptiness in them, because they lost their father," she told CTV News Vancouver Island.
Lee Hackett, a friend of Lowndes, blames police for escalating the situation.
“They should have approached him with caution," he said. "They shouldn’t have tried to box him in and surround him, and they definitely shouldn't have sent a dog after him like that."
"Jared was stuck in that car already," added Ashleaha Gardiner. "They had no reason to bring that dog out, at all. Jared didn't have to get shot in the face three times, either."
The Independent Investigations Office, which looks into all incidents involving police officers in British Columbia that result in death or serious harm to a member of the public, has been called to investigate Lowndes's death.
The IIO is tasked with determining whether the officers' use of force in the incident was justified.
With files from CTV News Vancouver Island’s Scott Cunningham