March 19, 2018 8:10 pm
Updated: March 19, 2018 10:43 pm

IIO called to South Surrey after distraught man dies following struggle with police

Police have taped off a section of 10th Avenue near 161A Street.

Global News

B.C.’s civilian police watchdog has been deployed to South Surrey, where a man died after an apparent struggle with police.

According to the Independent Investigations Office, police were called to the intersection of 10th Avenue and 161A street around 1:30 p.m., to reports of a distraught man screaming in the street.

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“He was laying around on the road, crawling around,” neighbour Brien Roffey told Global News. “Going like, ‘There’s people after me, I can see these lights, can’t you see these lights coming at me?'”

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“I thought he was on drugs, he was just crawling,” said his wife Danielle Girard.

Girard said her daughter called 911, and that the entire episode lasted about 20 minutes.

In that time, Roffey said a few neighbours, including an off-duty Vancouver police officer, came out to try and calm the man down.

“No one touched him. A couple of times a person tried to take his pulse and that, but he was too violent and upset,” he said.

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According to the RCMP, officers arrived on scene and attempted to speak to the man. When they tried “gain control of him and take him into custody,” he went into medical distress, according to an RCMP media release.

According to the IIO, police reported that the man went into cardiac arrest and died at the scene. The RCMP said he was pronounced dead at 3 p.m.

However, Girard told Global News she believes the man died before police arrived.

Both Girard and Roffey said they had never seen the man before, though it was possible he had come from a recovery house located nearby at 10th Avenue and 160th Street.

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“A lot of people in the neighbourhood were shaken up, including my wife because this is out of the ordinary, this doesn’t usually happen. Especially when you hear from the police that the person had passed away,” said Roffey.

The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team was also deployed to the scene, but has not released a statement.

Anyone with information is asked to call the IIO at 1-855-446-8477.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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