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Inquest next month into death of man shot by police

The inquest into Christopher Bloomfield’s death is scheduled to begin on July 2 at 9:30 a.m. at the Victoria Law Courts.

The B.C. Coroners Service will hold an inquest next month into the death of a 27-year-old Mill Bay man who was killed by police in 2018.

The inquest into Christopher Bloomfield’s death is scheduled to begin on July 2 at 9:30 a.m. at the Victoria Law Courts.

Bloomfield was shot by police attempting to arrest him in his home in Cedar Creek Mobile Home Park on Nov. 10, 2018, according to a narrative ­provided in 2021 by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. when it cleared RCMP officers of wrongdoing in Bloomfield’s death.

Three officers went to his home after a woman who lived with Bloomfield went to the Shawnigan Lake RCMP detachment and told police Bloomfield had drugged and physically assaulted her.

Shortly after two officers went inside the home to arrest him, witnesses heard yelling and several popping sounds, they told the IIO.

Bloomfield was shot five times, including two fatal shots to the chest.

The police watchdog struggled to piece together the events leading to Bloomfield’s death, because the two officers who were inside the home declined to be interviewed by IIO investigators and did not provide access to their notes. Officers who are being investigated by the IIO are not compelled to submit evidence.

The two officers did eventually provide written statements through lawyers after more than a year of negotiation and after the IIO disclosed much of its evidence.

The officers said they kicked Bloomfield’s door down to enter the home. Bloomfield advanced on them with a large knife, ­making stabbing motions. Both officers fired their weapons, after one used a Taser that only made partial contact with Bloomfield.

The IIO determined the officers faced a serious threat of bodily harm or death and were justified in shooting Bloomfield.

Inquests are mandatory for deaths that occur while a person was detained by or in the custody of a peace officer, the B.C. Coroners Service said. They are intended to determine how, when, where and by what means someone died, to make recommendations to prevent deaths in similar circumstances and to ensure public confidence that the circumstances surrounding the death will not be “overlooked, concealed or ignored.”

The presiding coroner, Kirsten Everett, and a jury will hear evidence from witnesses under oath to determine the facts surrounding Bloomfield’s death. The jury cannot make any finding of legal responsibility.

The inquest will be live­ streamed and available to the public through the Coroners Service website.

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