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Inquest into police shooting at Vancouver Canadian Tire begins

Daniel Peter Rintoul died in November 2016 after being shot by police outside a Canadian Tire.
Vancouver police officers were cleared of wrongdoing in the 2016 death of Daniel Peter Rintoul.

A BC Corners Service inquest convened in Burnaby Oct. 31 into a police shooting death of a man in Vancouver.

Daniel Peter Rintoul, 38, died Nov. 10, 2016 after Vancouver Police Department officers shot him outside a Canadian Tire.

The shooting came after what appeared to be a botched robbery in the store’s firearms department. 

Police shot Rintoul after he allegedly stabbed a store clerk and police officer, both of whom wound up in hospital with knife wounds.

Presiding coroner Susan Barth and a jury will hear evidence from witnesses under oath to determine the facts surrounding this death.

The five-person jury can make recommendations aimed at preventing deaths under similar circumstances. A jury must not make any finding of legal responsibility or express any conclusion of law.

What happened?

Police responded to the Canadian Tire store around 3 p.m. that day after receiving multiple 911 calls. Police said a man entered the store, which is located in a shopping complex that includes a Save-On Foods, dressed in camouflage gear, stabbed a store clerk and began removing firearms from gun cabinets.

Inquest lawyer Chris Godwin said in a case-opening overview that Rintoul carried a knife and bear spray. He said Rintoul tried unsuccessfully to load a gun after bear-spraying a staff member.

He then took an 82-year-old man hostage before exiting the store.

That man, Harry Bruderer, has since died but the inquest will see his video statement to B.C.’s Independent Investigations Office (IIO) investigation into the death. The IIO investigates police-involved incidents that result in death or serious harm.

By then, Godwin said, two police officers, Gary Li and Justin Fraser arrived. The hostage was released and Rintoul then bear-sprayed officers. He was subsequently Tasered.

Rintoul was restrained but got free and stabbed and slashed at one officer. At that point, police used their firearms just before more officers arrived. Those officers used non-lethal Arwen guns and then firearms.

“Mr. Rintoul died as a result of the interaction,” Godwin said.

Scene witness Katarina Mitchell said earlier the man was armed with a rifle and sprayed an unknown substance at an officer before being tackled to the ground.

Police said the man stabbed the officer multiple times before he was shot. The hostage was not harmed in the incident, which attracted dozens of police officers from Vancouver and Burnaby.

Godwin said Rintoul had been living in a rooming house at the time of his death and had a history of suicide attempts.

Sister testifies

The inquest’s first witness was Rintoul’s sister, Sheri Cardall, who appeared by video.

“He was gregarious, outgoing, loving, joyous, very hyperactive, easily excitable,” she said.

She added it was the last two traits that brought her brother into conflict with their authoritarian father, a former police officer who beat the boy.

She said Rintoul struggled in school and was bullied. She called herself his best friend and biggest defender.

“He was odd. He was very excitable. He was very sensitive,” she said.

Cardall said after he began getting into fights, their mother got Rintoul into anger management.

He also got involved with her friends playing Dungeons and Dragons.

“He had an immense imagination,” she said.

It was after living on the streets of Calgary that Rintoul moved to Vancouver, she said.

Cardall said her brother strained friendships and was interested in playing games and being creative.

“He never really developed that adult mindset,” she said.

“He was a very kind man, loving and gentle,” she said. “He had a terrible temper but he usually turned the anger in on himself. He was a big man and he was very intimidating. He had no sense of personal space.” 

She added that his hugs were "amazing.”

“You always felt safe with him.”

She said Rintoul had shared some of his personal philosophy with her. "'We don’t need to work for ourselves,'" he told her. "'We need to be working for everyone.'"

Psychiatric care

Psychiatrist Dr. Danielle Chin told the inquest Rintoul had been referred to her unit after a suicide attempt. She testified he tried because he was getting nowhere in life.

She said he exhibited narcissistic traits as well as psychosis, and eventually chose not to be treated.

Chin said if he had appeared a risk to himself or others he could have been certified under the Mental Health Act and confined to a hospital. But, as a voluntary patient, that was not Rintoul’s case.

“He wasn’t willing,” she said. “If he was willing, there were resources we could offer.”

Chin said Rintoul had made a complaint to her unit.

“He felt like he wasn’t being taken seriously,” she said.

Independent Investigations Office investigation

The IIO investigation into the death said three officers fired 10 bullets from their pistols at Rintoul, with nine of the rounds hitting him.

The February 2019 report said Rintoul was also hit twice with a Taser, five “rubber bullet” rounds from an Arwen gun and pepper spray.

“The objective evidence demonstrates that [the man] posed a threat of deadly force to members of the public, who may have been in the store and possibly coming out, and to the lives of the officers present who later gave statements regarding their individual threat assessments,” said the report signed by chief civilian director Ronald J. MacDonald and lawyer Clinton J. Sadlemyer of the investigations office.

“All of that evidence supports the reasonableness and necessity of the decisions by officers one, two and four to shoot. Officers one, two and four acted as required by their duties and in accordance with the law. The evidence collected does not provide grounds to consider any charges against any officer.”

With files from Mike Howell

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