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Man shot after ramming B.C. RCMP vehicle, injuring officer

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Warning: This report contains graphic images some may find disturbing.

British Columbia's police oversight agency is investigating after an officer shot a man who the RCMP say drove into a police vehicle at the North Cowichan-Duncan RCMP detachment, injuring an officer.

The man and the officer were transported to hospital with what police say are non-life-threatening injuries.

The RCMP say an officer was checking on a vehicle in the police employee parking lot around 6:30 a.m. Friday, when a man drove into the lot, ramming the vehicle and injuring the officer.

"This is a very disturbing incident for our members and employees," North Cowichan-Duncan RCMP Insp. Chris Bear said in a statement.

"Additional supports and resources have been brought in to our detachment and core policing operations for the community will not be impacted. We are unsure what the man’s intentions were at this time, but the investigation will look to determine that."

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C., which investigates when police are involved in an incident that results in serious injury or death, has been deployed to the community.

"The main issue for us will be whether or not the officer who shot the civilian had reasonable, probable grounds to believe that there was a risk of grievous bodily harm or death to him or another individual," Ronald J. MacDonald, the office's chief civilian director, said.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the IIO witness line at 1-855-446-8477.

CTV News has obtained a video recording of the incident from an apartment building across from the police station.

The witness video shows a person in a grey hooded sweatshirt exit a dark-coloured SUV that has crashed head-on into an RCMP cruiser, apparently forcing the police vehicle down a small embankment.

Two uniformed RCMP officers approach the person who appears to be accessing the rear passenger seat of the SUV.

One officer can be seen drawing a weapon as the person turns toward him. A single gunshot is heard and the person falls backward onto the ground.

Police evidence markers were scattered around the parking lot near the two vehicles and the detachment remained behind police tape Friday afternoon.

A dark-coloured SUV crashed into a police vehicle at the North Cowichan-Duncan RCMP detachment prior to the shooting on May 12, 2023. (CTV News)

"It‘s horrifying," said Rose Wall, who lives near the police station. "It seems like the violence is worse, seems like the police don't have the support they need or enough of them, so it's not a surprise. It's just horrifying."

Gerri Moulton, a North Cowichan resident, said incidents of violence in the community appear to be on the rise.

"It scares the heck out of me because everybody is going crazy right now," Moulton said. "These things are just crazy. It's happening too much."

The National Police Federation issued a statement saying more protections are needed for police officers amid increasing threats and violence across Canada.

"Earlier today, a police officer was injured in Duncan, B.C., after a subject rammed a police vehicle," president Brian Sauvé said.

"As always, our members responded professionally and bravely protecting each other and the public, arresting the individual."

Sauvé added that someone entered an RCMP detachment in Nanaimo earlier this week, threatening police officers and others, before he was arrested.

The municipality of North Cowichan asked the public to avoid the area around the detachment.

The incident occurred approximately six weeks after a North Cowichan-Duncan RCMP officer shot and seriously injured a man who was driving a piece of heavy construction equipment down residential streets at night.

Police said they received a report of an intoxicated man on a skid-steer around 9:15 p.m. on March 28.

A slow chase ensued and the skid-steer collided with police vehicles before an officer opened fire on the man, who was rushed to hospital.

The IIO is still investigating that earlier incident.

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