RCMP investigate after murder suspect Angus David Mitchell was shot by police in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Wednesday May 30, 2012, Police confirm suspect Angus David Mitchell has been pronounced dead in hospital after being shot by RCMP officers during a stand off.
Credits: CARMINE MARINELLI/QMI AGENCY
The 26-year-old died in hospital on May 30, 2012, following a bullet exchange with members of the RCMP's Lower Mainland Emergency Response Team.
The BC Coroners Service is mandated to hold an inquest into the death of anyone who dies while detained by or in the custody of a peace officer.
"We took that fairly broadly," coroner and spokeswoman Barbara McLintock said. "For practical purposes, he was detained - although for technical legal purposes, he hadn't quite been yet.
"But this guy wasn't going to get out of there without being arrested; they made that pretty clear."
Mitchell - wanted in the shooting of his former landlord in Burnaby and a person of interest in the double homicide in a Burnaby sushi restaurant - was taken down just hours after Mounties issued an urgent public warning he was on the loose, armed and dangerous.
After a Maple Ridge resident called 911 to report Mitchell's vehicle on the side of a rural road, police quickly surrounded the van with a tactical team, dogs and a helicopter. Attempts to get Mitchell to surrender were futile and the showdown ended in a hail of bullets fired by both police and Mitchell, who was struck and killed. No police were injured.
Questions have been raised over whether law enforcement officials - after three separate complaints against Mitchell - could have prevented his murderous rampage and ultimate death.
In September, Vancouver police arrested the former security guard after a tenant called 911 to an east-end home for a "breach of peace" complaint. A knife was reportedly seized, but no charges were laid.
In November, a Victoria security company also complained to police about Mitchell, who allegedly threatened his boss after being fired. According to a source, that same day, the firm also called the solicitor general's office to report the incident, and urged the department to revoke Mitchell's provincial licence as a security guard.
In February, Mitchell brought a rifle to a Saanich medical clinic. He was arrested under the Mental Health Act, and the gun was seized by Victoria police but returned a few weeks later.
"It's pretty obvious there were issues. There were issues raised about the weapon and what the rules were in terms of when he got it back," McLintock said.
Vancouver police are conducting an external review of the shooting and the circumstances leading up to it. The inquest date will largely depend on how quickly that's completed.
Mitchell allegedly shot and killed a woman working at the Royal Oak Sushi House in Burnaby, along with the restaurant owner and a bystander May 27. Mitchell's former landlord was shot and severely wounded two days later.
Police said Mitchell had a hit list with 10 other targets who had at one point had some conflict with him, dating back to 2009.
An inquest is a formal process that allows for public presentation of evidence from subpoenaed witnesses relating to a death.
While the jury can't make any findings of legal responsibility, it can make recommendations aimed at preventing deaths under similar circumstances in the future.