An incident that began just before 6 a.m. Thursday ended with one man down and in hospital with serious injuries and the Independent Investigations Office looking into the "officer-involved" shooting.
The provincial Independent Investigations Office has now taken over the investigation, and just after 2 p.m. Thursday, released more details about what happened in Queensborough.
"The (IIO) confirms that a team of investigators has been deployed to an officer-involved shooting in New Westminster.
"In the early morning hours of Nov. 8, the New Westminster Police Department responded to a 911 call concerning shots fired and located an adult male in a parking lot near the Starlight Casino. Police cordoned off the area and, over several hours, attempted to engage the male. At approximately 10:45 a.m., an officer-involved shooting occurred, and as a result, the male sustained serious injuries and was transported to hospital.
"The IIO was notified at 11:03 a.m. and has deployed nine investigative personnel to the scene and to the New Westminster Police Department offices."
Earlier in the day, Insp. Phil Eastwood of the New Westminster Police Department would not confirm whose weapon was fired, nor how many shots were fired. He did say nobody else was injured during the incident.
More details about what happened Thursday came from a variety of other sources.
According to The Province, the incident began around 6 a.m. when a Subway sandwich employee watched in horror as the man held a gun to the head of a woman while police looked on.
The employee, who did not want to be named, said she watched from the store as the scary situation unfolded before her.
"There was a guy with a gun who had the gun to her head," she recalled as she was busy baking buns.
Around 7:30 a.m., eyewitnesses, including a CBC reporter, reported hearing police on a loudspeaker trying to negotiate with the man.
"Put down the gun. We don't want anyone to get hurt. Put down the gun," police could be heard repeating on the loudspeaker.
According to another witness, a little more than an hour later, police used a robot to bring the man a cellphone so that they could continue negotiating with him. The robot may have been equipped with a camera, which would have been able to record that part of the incident for future police review.
Negotiations continued until just before 11 a.m., when the standoff came to an end.
The incident caused traffic to be snarled around the Starlight Casino and the Queensborough Bridge on Thursday morning.
While police initially closed off southbound lanes on the Queensborough Bridge, they had to subsequently close down the northbound lanes. Buses were re-routed away from the bridge as well.
By 11:30 a.m., traffic was getting back to normal.
Several blocks away, students at Queensborough Middle School and Queen Elizabeth Elementary were kept inside while the standoff took place.
"We are not in a lockdown situation," superintendent John Woudzia told The Record Thursday morning. "Our principals, Jamie Sadler and Debbie Jones are on site, and we have teachers who live in Queensborough who are coming in to look after the students. ... Needless to say, we are monitoring the situation and working closely with the police."
Offering a unique perspective on the incident was Starlight Casino table dealer Peter Jones, who was getting ready to leave work and go home at 6 a.m.
As Jones was punching out, a supervisor told him the casino was being locked down and nobody could leave.
"There were about 20 of us inside the break room," said Jones. "I phoned my wife to tell her what was happening, and we were watching it on TV until a supervisor came in to tell us to turn it off so that we wouldn't traumatize anybody."
Jones would get updates from his wife Nadine via cellphone, and it became a waiting game for everybody inside the casino.
Jones said he knows the woman involved in the original incident. He said she's also a table dealer at the casino, and he thinks she's Russian.
"I think she was coming to work," said Jones. "I met her and her husband about four years ago when we worked down at the boat (Royal City Star). ... They seemed like really nice people, and I'm really kind of shocked at what happened."
When the incident ended just before 11 a.m., Jones said he didn't hear anything, but co-workers out for a smoke break did.
"A couple of them told me they heard a bang and some glass breaking," said Jones.
All that was left for Jones to do was give his details to police officers and soon, he was outside in the sunshine, getting a ride from a co-worker back to his New Westminster home.
"I gave my wife a hug as soon as I got home," said Jones. "I'm glad this is over."
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