B.C. RCMP shoot man after he crashes into vehicles with skid-steer loader

The pursuit of a man driving a loader ended when police opened fire and shot him. The Independent Investigation Office has now taken over the case. Kylie Stanton has the details, and hears from the man's fiancée.

British Columbia’s civilian police watchdog has been deployed after RCMP on Vancouver Island shot a man who allegedly crashed into police vehicles with a piece of industrial equipment.

Robert Martin, who lives near Evans Park in Duncan, B.C., said he was in his back yard Tuesday evening when he heard loud noises and police sirens.

He then saw someone driving a skid-steer, a tracked piece of equipment with a loading bucket on the front, down the alley.

“He actually went over one of the cop cars, crushed the car,” before driving out to the main road, Martin said.

“They tried to PIT maneuver him with four or five cop cars and he kept taking the bucket of the skid steer and pushing them out of the way. We kept hearing screeches from the tires and he just kept going,” he added.

“The cops tried to do everything to stop the guy, and in the end we heard five gunshots.”

In a media release, the RCMP said officers from the North Cowichan/Duncan detachment were called around 9:15 p.m. Tuesday about an impaired man driving a track loader skid-steer down a residential street.

Mounties said they tried to get the the driver to stop, but that the loader collided with police vehicles.

“During the interaction that followed, one officer discharged their weapon striking the driver,” RCMP said in the release.

“Emergency Health Services were called and the man was transported to hospital with serious injuries.”

Sarah Brown told Global News she got the call about what happened to her fiancé Davin Cochrane around midnight Tuesday.

She’s been at his bedside at Victoria General Hospital since then, and said he was shot twice in the head and has undergone brain surgery.

“It’s not good,” she said.

“They could’ve tried something else, maybe tear gas.  They could’ve tried something else.”

Brown said Cochrane has had dealings with police in the past, but has been clean and sober for three years.

She told Global News he was in a car crash earlier on Tuesday that landed him in hospital in Duncan, but somehow was allowed to leave while not in a sound state of mind.

“He had left the hospital, he was acting erratic,” she said.

“Now my daughter may not have her dad, I don’t get my partner and my best friend – and that’s not OK.”

The Independent Investigations Office confirmed it was reviewing the case, including reports “that there was contact between the loader and police vehicles.”

The ultimate number of shots fired, and how Cochrane acquired the skid-steer remain unclear.
“All of those things will go into our determination about whether or not the police action was justified in this matter,” IIO Chief Civilian Director Ron MacDonald told Global News.

Anyone who witnessed the incident or has relevant information or video is asked to contact the IIO witness line at 1-855-446-8477 or via the contact form on the iiobc.ca website.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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