One year since the Granisle shooting

A mother and her son died in a police involved-shooting in Granisle on April 21, 2016.  - Black Press file photo 
A mother and her son died in a police involved-shooting in Granisle on April 21, 2016. 
— image credit: Black Press file photo 

This Friday will mark one year since Shirley Williams and her son Jovan died in a police-involved shooting in Granisle.

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. (IIO), which handles incidents of serious harm or death involving police, has been leading this investigation.

According to Aidan Buckley, a spokesperson for the IIO, the bulk of the investigative work on this case is now complete.

“Once the remaining tasks have been completed, the next step will be an internal review process wherein the IIO’s chief civilian director (CCD) will make a determination if any offence(s) may have been committed.”

Buckley explained that there are two ways in which a file can end.

- If the CCD concludes that an officer may have committed any offence, then he will refer this case to Crown counsel for consideration of charges. The IIO does not recommend or lay charges.

- If the CCD concludes that no officer may have committed any offence, then a public report will be released on the IIO’s website at These public reports give an in-depth look at the case and explain the rationale for not referring the case to Crown counsel.

Buckley said that since the IIO began investigating this incident, a number of tasks have been completed.

“These tasks include interviews with officers and civilian witnesses. Ballistics testing has also been conducted on both police and non-police issued firearms that were recovered from the scene,” he said. “The IIO also participated in a town hall meeting with residents in the weeks after this incident took place and contact has been ongoing with the community and the affected person’s family to update them on this case."

At the time of the incident, the IIO told members of the community the investigation could take approximately 14 to 18 months.

Shirley, 73, had moved to Burns Lake from Nashville, Tennessee, and made Granisle her home about 13 years ago. Jovan, 39, had quit his job at Lake Babine Nation to be closer to his mother.

On April 21, 2016, RCMP officers were called at 12:30 p.m. to a dispute between neighbours involving a handgun in Granisle. They arrived at about 1:20 p.m., established a perimeter around the Morrison Street home and tried to contact the people inside.

“One person exited the residence and confronted police. Shots were fired at about 2:50 p.m.,” said staff sergeant Rob Vermeulen, a senior media relations officer with E Division last year. “The second person exited the residence, confronted police and shots were fired.”

Paramedics who were waiting nearby rushed to the victims, but both were dead. There were no injuries to police.



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