The officer in charge of the Langley RCMP detachment said 22-year-old Alvin Wright was hiding in a bedroom closet armed with a large knife and a hatchet the night he was shot and killed by police investigating a domestic disturbance complaint at Wright’s home.
“He was only shot as a last resort after he came at them brandishing the knife,” Superintendent Derek Cooke said.
Cooke made the statement in a written press release issued Thursday (Nov. 3), the day after a Vancouver Police Department review of the August 6, 2010 fatality declared there were no grounds for criminal charges against any of the officers.
“I do feel that at this point it is important for people to have a general understanding of what transpired that night,” Cooke said.
He said the police are still limited in what they can say because an investigation is being conducted by the Commission for Public Complaints against the RCMP, a coroner’s inquest has been ordered and Wright’s widow is suing the police.
He expects much of the details will be disclosed during the inquest, which is scheduled for the week of March 26, 2012.
Cooke said it was because of the information he had available to him shortly after the shooting that he did not remove any of the involved officers from active duty after the event.
The superintendent said he was pleased with the outcome of the investigation and that its findings were “consistent with the evidence of what took place that night.”
A few hours after the statement was released, the RCMP removed it from their website after the police complaints commissioner announced an investigation into the incident.
An RCMP spokesperson in Vancouver said it was done because, in light of the new review, it would be “premature” to comment.
On Friday (Nov. 4) the B.C. Civil Liberties Association filed a complaint with the Commission for Public Complaints against the RCMP, saying Cooke should not have released the information.
The letter states the information was released by Cooke without the approval of RCMP headquarters in Vancouver.
It goes on to say that the statement “could be seen as undermining efforts to have an objective and independent review.”