Ten days after an officer-involved shooting just outside the Starlight Casino in Queensborough, the man at the centre of the incident has died in hospital.
On Monday morning, the Independent Investigations Office, which now has jurisdiction over the case, confirmed that the man had passed away on Sunday evening.
The original incident occurred on the morning on Thursday, Nov. 8 just before 6 a.m.
The IIO took over the investigation later that day and released details about the Queensborough shooting.
"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."
More details about what happened just outside the casino 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.
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."
According to the IIO press release distributed on Monday morning, IIO personnel have been in contact with the deceased man's family and the investigation into the circumstances surrounding his death is ongoing. The B.C. Coroners Service remains responsible for identifying the man and determining the cause of death.
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