A Mountie who shot and killed a man on an icy field in Vanderhoof was justified in his use of deadly force, the RCMP complaints commissioner said yesterday.
However, Paul Kennedy, chair of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, said parts of the subsequent RCMP investigation lacked impartiality and failed to follow the force’s own procedures.
RCMP Const. Ryan Sheremetta, then 22, shot Kevin St. Arnaud, 29, three times in the chest on a snow-covered soccer field after a chase in December 2004.
St. Arnaud was intoxicated.
He had broken into a pharmacy and had fled police.
Kennedy concluded that the shooting was done in self-defence because Sheremetta thought St. Arnaud “posed a threat of grievous bodily harm or death.”
Sheremetta testified in a January 2007 inquest that he slipped and fell onto his back as St. Arnaud advanced upon him.
He said he shot the 29-year-old three times while on his back.
The testimony, however, was contradicted by that of Sheremetta’s partner, Const. Colleen Erickson, who testified that Sheremetta was standing at the time when he shot St. Arnaud.
Responding to Kennedy’s report in Vancouver yesterday, RCMP Chief Supt. Dick Bent expressed his condolences to St. Arnaud’s family.
“This was indeed a very sad and tragic outcome to a police interaction and one that no police officer ever wishes to see or hear about,” Bent said.
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