A 22-year-old man involved in a police chase has died after a Battlefords RCMP member fired their gun on Saturday.
A man initially reported to police that he was being chased by a vehicle and being shot at by the occupants at around 8:55 p.m. CT on Saturday.
Battlefords RCMP located the vehicle and initiated a pursuit, which ended shortly afterwards when the vehicle rammed a police vehicle and became immobilized near the intersection of 15th Avenue and 105th Street in North Battleford, Sask.
RCMP said one of its members discharged a firearm – injuring an occupant of the vehicle – in response to the driver’s actions after the pursuit.
WATCH BELOW: Shots fired in North Battleford, Sask.
Police attempted life-saving measures until paramedics arrived and took over.
“Life-saving measures were immediately provided by RCMP members until local EMS arrived and took over. However, at approximately 9:40 p.m., the driver was pronounced deceased while en route to hospital,” RCMP Chief Supt. Maureen Levy told reporters at a news conference in Regina on Sunday morning.
The driver, Brydon Bryce Whitstone, is from Onion Lake, Sask.
Darren Stanley said he was driving with his friend in North Battleford on Saturday evening, when they saw the vehicle speed past them.
Shortly afterwards, they said they saw three ambulances on site and watched as a man was taken away to hospital.
A woman who was in the vehicle suffered minor injuries. She was taken to hospital for treatment and is now back in custody.
One RCMP member suffered minor injuries in the chase and was taken to hospital, treated and released.
Saskatchewan RCMP have requested an independent, external investigation. The Regina Police Service will be looking into the circumstances surrounding Whitstone’s death.
Levy would not say how many shots were fired or if Whitstone was known to police, stressing that such questions will be investigated by police from Regina.
“We’ll have to let them conduct their investigation. We want to make sure it’s a fair and transparent investigation and we want to give them the opportunity without reproach to conduct their investigation independently from the RCMP,” Levy said.
Police said the pursuit ended when the suspect vehicle rammed a police vehicle and became immobilized near the intersection of 15th Avenue and 105th Street.The Ministry of Justice has been asked to appoint an independent observer.
Justice Ministry spokesman Drew Wilby explained at the news conference that when an independent observer is requested, the ministry appoints someone such as a former police officer.
“This individual will not be connected to the RCMP,” he said.
The observer will then file a report with the Ministry of Justice, Wilby said.
Levy said the officers who were at the incident aren’t working now and are receiving peer-to-peer counselling.
She said she wasn’t sure how many officers were now off-duty, but said the RCMP can deploy extra resources to North Battleford if needed.
The initial complaint continues to be investigated by Battlefords RCMP.
Rebekah Lesko contributed to this story, with files from The Canadian Press