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Pre-trial conference held for Chilliwack RCMP officer charged with shooting suspect during arrest

Keven Biagioni also facing lawsuit in connection with 2021 incident in parking lot by Vedder River
Chilliwack RCMP at the scene of a police-involved shooting after 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

A pre-trial conference was held Wednesday morning in Surrey for the RCMP officer charged after shooting a domestic violence suspect during an arrest near the Vedder River in Chilliwack two years ago.

Keven Biagioni is charged with discharging a firearm with intent, aggravated assault, and careless use of a firearm in connection with the arrest of David Bardwell in the parking lot at the end of Lickman Road by the river on Jan. 12, 2021.

The charges came after they were recommended by the Independent Investigations Office (IIO) of B.C., which investigates all officer-related incidents that result in serious harm or death.

Biagioni is not only facing these charges, but Bardwell filed a lawsuit against him, the Minister of Public safety and Solicitor General of B.C., and the Attorney General of Canada.

That day in 2021, RCMP officers responded to a complaint from Bardwell’s wife that he was threatening her and had injured her. She escaped and Bardwell also left the property but continued to send “concerning messages and threats,” according to an RCMP press release.

Bardwell was later found in the parking lot by the river.

“At the time, Mr. Bardwell was sitting in his parked vehicle smoking cigarettes and idly fiddling with a shish-kebab skewer,” according to his lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court in Abbotsford on Jan. 11, 2023.

Officers boxed in his vehicle and approached him.

“Police advise that the suspect reportedly had a weapon and during the course of the interaction the man was shot,” the RCMP said in a statement at the time.

That weapon, Bardwell says, was the BBQ skewer. He exited his vehicle and put his hands in the air.

“One of the RCMP officers directed Mr. Bardwell to drop the shish-kebab skewer,” the lawsuit alleges.

“Mr. Bardwell, who was in acute mental health distress at the time, did not drop the skewer.”

He was asked again to drop the skewer but did not. The lawsuit alleges that then “suddenly and without warning,” Const. Keven Biagioni fired multiple bullets in rapid succession, hitting Baldwell in the torso twice.

After being brought to hospital, he says he was placed in a medically induced coma for four days and underwent multiple surgeries. Bardwell says he suffered serious injuries, including damage to his spleen, stomach, left lung, and heart, in addition to psychological injury “including significant distress, symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety.”

As for his criminal matter, he was convicted of assault by choking, assault causing bodily harm, and two counts of uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm, in addition to eight criminal code breaches of release over several dates ranging from Aug. 27, 2021 to Sept. 13, 2022, in connection with the Jan. 12 incident involving his wife.

He is scheduled for sentencing on all 12 counts on March 17 in provincial court in Chilliwack.

None of the allegations against Biagioni or outlined in the lawsuit have been proven in court.

READ MORE: Police watchdog recommends charges against Chilliwack RCMP officer who shot suspect

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