This October will mark 18 months since Shirley Williams and her son Jovan died in a police-involved shooting in Granisle.
Last year the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. (IIO), which has been leading this investigation, said this type of case usually takes approximately 18 months to be finalized. However, the IIO cannot say when this particular investigation will be completed at this point.
“It is hard to give an exact timeline on the outcome of our investigations because of the complex nature of our files,” said Shannon Brennan, an IIO spokesperson.
According to Brennan, now that the bulk of the investigative work is completed, the IIO’s chief civilian director (CCD) will review the investigation.
“If the CCD concludes that an officer may have committed an offence, he will file a report to Crown counsel,” explained Brennan. “The CCD does not make any charges or recommend any charges – that is done at the discretion of Crown counsel.”
“If the CCD finds that no officer committed any offence, he will publicly report the reasoning underlying his decision,” she added.
The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. handles incidents of serious harm or death involving police. Their investigation included interviews with officers and civilian witnesses, as well as ballistics testing on both police and non-police issued firearms that were recovered from the scene. The IIO also participated in a town hall meeting with residents in the weeks after the incident took place.
“Contact has been ongoing with the community and the affected person’s family to update them on this case,” said Aidan Buckley, a spokesperson for the IIO, earlier this year.
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.,” described staff sergeant Rob Vermeulen, a spokesperson for the RCMP, 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.