The 22-year-old male who died after he injured 11 people at the office of Bridge River Indian Band was overwhelmed by his life and lashed out, said Chief Susan James. She said band staff were working to find stable housing and a way to pay his rent. He walked into the band office and began attacking people with a weapon, and was subdued. Two victims were sent to hospital where they were in critical conditions, and two others with serious injuries.
He had been restrained before police arrived at the scene, but had stopped breathing. CPR was attempted, but he could not be revived. The Independent Investigations Office, which looks into police-involved deaths and serious injuries, is investigating.
The suspect, David James (no relation to the chief), “had complex social and health needs that our staff did not have the resources or training to adequately respond to,” the chief said.
Assembly of First Nations-BC Regional Chief Shane Gottfriedson noted that the intergenerational trauma of residential schools contributed to the incident. “We, as First Nations, continue to face unbearable social conditions which directly impact community safety. We are the poorest of the poor and the most disadvantaged,” he said in a press release.