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Crime

Family of B.C. man killed by RCMP hopes coroner’s inquest will provide answers

Peter DeGroot, 45, is shown in this undated handout photo. .
Peter DeGroot, 45, is shown in this undated handout photo. . B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP

The family of a B.C. man shot and killed by an RCMP officer five years ago says it hopes to see answers to some unanswered questions, now that a coroner’s inquest has been scheduled in his death.

Peter de Groot, 45, was fatally shot by a member of an RCMP Emergency Response Team in a remote cabin near Slocan in the B.C. Kootenays on Oct. 14, 2014.

The standoff followed a four-day manhunt, that was sparked when he allegedly fired a gun at police officers responding to a report of a dispute on a roadway.

READ MORE: Sister of B.C. man killed by police in manhunt sues government

Speaking to reporters by phone on Monday, de Groot’s sister Danna said the inquest has been scheduled for Spring 2020.

She said the family is still hoping to learn more about her brother’s first contact with police and the circumstances around his death, arguing there is no evidence Peter fired at police in the first place.

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“We hope to learn why RCMP officers attended Peter’s home in the first place let alone acted in such a confrontational and offensive manner in approaching Peter at his home,” she said.

“Why (was he) publicly described by the RCMP as being dangerously mentally ill rather than the highly educated person he was who had suffered a brain aneurysm? Why I was prevented from trying to speak to or make contact with Peter after requesting numerous times to try to help him and resolve the crisis.

Danna de Groot said the family is also looking for clarity as to whether her brother was shot in the back.

READ MORE: B.C.’s watchdog exonerates RCMP officer in fatal shooting

B.C.’s civilian police watchdog, the Independent Investigations Office, cleared the officer that shot de Groot, saying he had acted according to protocol.

It said an initial autopsy had contradicted that officer’s testimony, showing he was shot from behind, but that subsequent autopsies had found he was shot through the neck, from the front.

Danna de Groot said the family is also hoping to learn what orders police were given, along with a detailed timeline of their actions.

“Complete and utter violation of his human rights that our brother’s death entails has caused great suffering and damage to the people that loved and cared for him,” she said.

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“Unfortunately there’s nothing that will change what has happened.”

De Groot said a lawsuit against the provincial and federal governments over her brother’s death has been deferred until the conclusion