The Independent Investigations Office is probing a confrontation with police that left a mother and her son dead in Northern BC.
Mounties were called this afternoon to a “neighbour dispute” involving a handgun in the Village of Granisle, north of Topley.
After establishing a perimeter and attempting contact with residents, the RCMP says one person left the home and confronted police before shots were fired.
Then, Mounties say a second person left the residence, confronted police and shots were fired.
Harvey Williams of the Cheslatta Carrier Nation says the victims are his 77 year old ex-wife Shirley, and 39 year old son, Joe.
He says the pair don’t own a handgun, and he was surprised to hear a weapon was involved.
Still, he questions the lethal use of force.
“Shirley is about 77 years old why would the cops be scared of her. I mean, if you had a mother that old you wouldn’t be scared of her yet they shot her and I just don’t understand that.”
Shirley’s friend, Anne Williams, echoes the sentiment.
“I don’t know why they would shoot her, I wasn’t there.”
Both were pronounced dead at the scene.
History of challenges
Granisle Councillor Jim O’Farrell says the family had been struggling with mental health issues.
“They just needed help and they didn’t get it.”
O’Farrell says the pair’s challenges were serious enough that about a year ago he’d reached out on their behalf, but to no avail.
“I actually went to Northern Health and inquired if they were getting any help at all, and they told me that things were trying to get done, but if they don’t accept help, they don’t get help.”
O’Farrell, who is also a neighbour, says today isn’t the first time there had been trouble at the property.
“They had issues with the neighbours, it’s been going on for quite a while but lately it’s gotten worse. They had particular trouble with their front door neighbours.”
He adds the incident has left the community reeling.
“Stuff like this, I’m expecting it in the big city where there’s lots of crime, lots of drugs, lots of opportunity. But here, if someone leaves their dog running around loose it’s a major catastrophe here.”
He says there may be a community meeting to try and make sense of the tragedy in the coming days.
The IIO says officers from the North District Major Crime unit have helped secure the scene and evidence for the arrival of its investigators, but that it will be providing no other information at this time.