B.C. police watchdog clears officers in fatal hostage situation outside Cranbrook

A woman died from carbon monoxide poisoning after taking two minors hostage last fall

B.C.’s police watchdog says officers did not commit any offences while responding to a fatal hostage situation outside Cranbrook last October.

A woman died from carbon monoxide poisioning after an eight-hour standoff with police, where two minors had been held hostage but later freed.

The Independent Investigations Office of BC deployed investigators. The agency investigates any police-involved incidents where a civillian is injured or dies.

In a report issued Friday, the IIO said that the responding officers carried out their duty to protect the minors and that no offences had been committed.

“RCMP were faced with an armed hostage situation involving two minors,” reads the report. “In a remote area with a small detachment, officers followed protocol and called in a team trained for this type of high risk incident. The minors’ removal was priority, and officer safety was also important.”

Police responded to a woman ‘in distress’ at a remote rural property outside the city in the evening of Oct. 6.

When three responding officers arrived, two loud noises consistent with a gunshot was heard from the building, and a hostage situation developed with two minors who were also in the house, but in a seperate room than the woman.

The responding officers retreated down the driveway and communicated with the woman through a cell phone, who told police she had a firearm, ammunition and wanted to talk with her doctor.

Officers heard an engine start in an outbuilding, and a spike belt was placed across the driveway to prevent the woman from leaving in a vehicle.

After a few hours, police were able to remove the minors, but also lost contact with the woman, suspecting her cell phone’s battery was discharged.

In the early hours of Oct. 7, the idling sounds from the engine had died down.

Police attempted to use a loud hailer to communicate with the woman, but there was no response.

With the RCMP’s Emergency Response Team on scene, two distraction rounds were deployed before a robot was sent into the outbuilding where the engine had been running.

The robot’s camera showed the woman’s body on the floor of the building, and not moving. ERT officers moved in and confirmed she was dead.



trevor.crawley@cranbrooktownsman.com

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