Police watchdog investigating death of Sechelt man after RCMP chase

B.C.’s independent police watchdog has been called in after the death of a man in Sechelt following a pursuit by RCMP Tuesday.

Sunshine Coast RCMP said they were called to a bank in the 5500-block of Sunshine Coast Highway around 4 p.m. after reports of a man trying to make a fraudulent transaction.

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The man was arrested at the scene, but fled on foot as police were taking him to their patrol car, RCMP said.

Police then pursued the suspect on foot into a “thick blackberry brush area” less than a kilometre away from the scene, police said, where the man was detained again.

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Click to play video: 'Probe into the death of a Sechelt man'
Probe into the death of a Sechelt man

As police tried to get the man out of the bushes, he started to complain of breathing problems, and eventually collapsed and became unresponsive.

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Officers gave the suspect immediate medical attention along with a local doctor and nurse until paramedics took over, the Independent Investigations Office (IIO) said in a statement Wednesday.

Despite efforts to revive him, the man could not be resuscitated and was pronounced dead upon arriving at hospital just before 5:30 p.m.

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Police say the IIO is now investigating whether police actions played a role in the man’s death.

Sunshine Coast RCMP are forwarding all comment to the IIO, who confirm they are continuing to investigate.

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