By: ctvbc.ca-Date: Monday Mar. 26, 2012
A public inquiry has begun into the death of Alvin Wright, who was gunned down by police in his Langley, B.C. townhouse.
Alvin Wright, 22, was shot to death on Aug. 7, 2010 after police say they found him drunk and armed with a hunting knife when they responded to calls about a domestic dispute.
A coroner’s inquest into the incident opened Monday, and a jury heard that Wright and his common-law wife Heather Hannon had been drinking heavily and arguing when he locked her out of the home that they shared together. Mounties arrived after she made three 911 calls on her cell phone.
She told the inquest that she will never call the police for help again.
Wright’s brother Alister was also in the home, and he testified that police smashed in the front door. He said he didn’t hear a warning before the officers fired a single shot.
Last week, Police Complaints Commissioner Stan Lowe ruled that three officers involved used reasonable force and said he will not forward the case to prosecutors for charge assessment.
Wright’s father Allan slammed that decision, issuing a statement saying that, “the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner should be called the Office of Police Protection instead.”
He called B.C. “a national embarrassment for police accountability” and said officers in this province operate with impunity.
According to Lowe’s decision, Const. Donald Davidson shot Alvin Wright in the abdomen after the distraught young man emerged from his hiding spot in a bedroom closet holding a large knife. The commissioner found that the officer had reason to fear for his life.
Davidson and the two other officers who confronted Wright are expected to begin their inquest testimony on Tuesday.
The inquest is scheduled to last until Friday, and the jury will have a chance to make recommendations to prevent similar deaths in the future.