The RCMP officer who shot a man suspected of stealing a car early Saturday morning has regained consciousness from a medically induced coma.
The officer suffered a head injury after being hit by the car, according to Nova Scotia’s Serious Incident Response Team.
SIRT, an independent body that investigates serious injuries or deaths at the hands of police, has interviewed three witnesses to the police shooting.
Those interviewed including another RCMP officer and two members of the public, SIRT director Felix Cacchione said on Monday.
The officer was struck by the car while he was standing on Willow Street trying to stop the driver, said Cacchione. He said he believes the officer was on the hood of the moving car when he fired.
Driver did not make statement before he died
The driver’s identity has not been made public.
Cacchione doesn’t know how many times the man was shot, or how many times the officer discharged his firearm. He is awaiting an autopsy report.
Cacchione said the man who was shot was conscious when firefighters worked to extract him from the car, but he died before first responders could get him to the hospital.
He did not give a statement to police before he died, said Cacchione. “He was in no condition. He’d been shot,” he said.
RCMP responded to a report of a stolen car in Amherst in the early morning hours of Saturday.
Police were on the lookout for the car, which was seen once outside of Truro, and later in the town’s centre, said Cacchione.
Around 2:30 a.m., the car was on Willow Street with an RCMP car behind it. Another vehicle, and another RCMP car, were in front.
Officer ended up on hood vehicle
The driver backed into the RCMP car behind it, while the officer in the vehicle in front was exiting his car.
“The stolen vehicle backed up and then started to go forward and drive away from the vehicle that was in front of it,” Cacchione said. “The police officer was then struck and was placed on the hood of the vehicle.”
After the officer fired shots at the driver from the hood of the car, the car veered off Willow Street, he said, ending up tipped onto the passenger’s side.
The officer sustained a head injury after being thrown from the hood of the car, said Cacchione. He arrived at the hospital with blood on his head, he said.
He was put into a medically induced coma shortly after he arrived at the hospital, he said.
No statement from injured officer
Neither RCMP nor SIRT have taken a statement from the injured officer. SIRT is waiting until the officer receives clearance from his medical team before conducting an interview, Cacchione said.
He said he doesn’t believe the officer was wearing a body camera.
The other officer on the scene, who has not been identified, has been interviewed by SIRT, he said. That officer did not discharge their gun, he said.
The driver of the other vehicle, as well as a person who was standing at a nearby business, were also interviewed.
Cacchione did not know if there was surveillance footage.
Both officers were in their patrol cars on their own, typical of RCMP, he said.
No theft insurance on car
An Amherst woman said she reported her 17-year-old son’s car stolen at 1:17 a.m. on Saturday morning.
Angela Allen said she had just arrived home when she heard the silver Kia Forte start up and leave their driveway around 1:15 a.m.
Allen is not sure if her son either forgot the key fob in the car, or if the man accessed a garage door opener in the car and took the key from the house.
The car wasn’t locked, Allen said.
They had two keys for the car and only one is left in the house, she said.
On Saturday morning, Allen said RCMP told her the car was recovered in Colchester County and was in a police-involved collision and SIRT was investigating.
However, police didn’t confirm to her whether their car was involved in the Truro police shooting.
“From the picture, I’m pretty convinced that it was our car,” she said.
The family is sad for the injured officer and the man who died, Allen said.
The car hasn’t been returned and Allen said her son’s insurance does not cover theft.
“He was still paying towards his car. He’s going to be paying for something he’s not going to have,” she said.