A RCMP officer who made a split-second decision to fire his weapon to protect another officer at a Salmon Arm car wash will not face criminal charges.
The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. (IIO) has concluded the officer was justified in his decision to shoot at a truck seen accelerating towards another officer on Jan. 30, 2017. The officer fired 14 shots from a high-powered carbine rifle at the truck, striking the driver, Kaymen Winter, as he attempted to flee from police.
The report, which does not name any of the officers involved, states the officer had to make a snap decision about what to do as he saw the truck driving towards another officer.
“In that situation, the law did not require Officer 1 to first carefully calculate how much force was needed. If he took that time, Officer 3 may have been killed.”
It goes on to state, “the evidence shows that Officer 1 acted as required by his duties as a police officer. The force he did apply was to protect Officer 3…”
It notes that had Winter not attempted to flee from police, he would not have been injured.
Winter was being investigated after a 911 call was made to police reporting that someone was attempting to break into the coin box of a spray car wash booth at Xcalibur Kawasaki on Jan. 30, 2017. The business owner reported to police that a suspect was seen on security video trying to access the coin box after he washed his truck.
Police arrived shortly thereafter and deliberately parked in an attempt to make it difficult for the driver of the pickup truck to leave the scene.
As one officer left his vehicle, it is alleged Winter began to open the garage bay doors, get in his truck and drive away.
The IIO report states Winter told IIO investigators because he was aware he had outstanding warrants for his arrest, his reaction was to flee when police pulled to the front and back of the car wash bay.
As the truck drove out of the car wash, an officer was in its path.
In his recounting of the incident to the IIO, the officer says he was in danger
“I’m all of a sudden frozen. There’s – oh, oh shit, the bay’s door – the bay door is opening in front… truck’s coming towards me, I’m jumping out of the way.”
At this point, Officer 1 began shooting at the truck.
The report also concludes, “Officer 1 was trained in and familiar with the use of a carbine rifle. It was the only means by which he could possibly stop the threat to Officer 3.”
Winter sustained multiple gunshot wounds, including one to his head, but survived his injuries. He is currently awaiting trial on charges that include resisting arrest, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, theft, mischief and possession of stolen property.