By James Weldon, North Shore News April 2, 2012
METRO VANCOUVER — Two years and three months after North Vancouver resident Matthew Wilcox was fatally wounded in a police shooting, the B.C. Coroners Service has finally opened an inquest into the incident.
Wilcox, 39, who suffered from bipolar disorder, was shot by a North Vancouver RCMP officer on Deep Cove Road Jan. 9, 2010, after reportedly walking toward the officer and ignoring commands to stop. He died in hospital the following day.
An 18-month investigation by the Vancouver Police Department concluded in July last year that the officer “was in lawful execution of his duty,” when he pulled the trigger. The day after that finding was published, the coroners service announced its intention to lead a formal inquest into the incident, but waited another four months before setting the April 2 start date.
Wilcox, an accomplished animator, attracted the attention of police on the day of the shooting when he began driving erratically down Mount Seymour Parkway, colliding with a number of vehicles, according to witnesses. He then turned on to Deep Cove Road where a police cruiser rammed his vehicle, forcing him to stop.
Witnesses said Wilcox then got out of his car and walked toward an officer at the scene, reportedly ignoring commands to stop and lie down on the ground. He was pulling what turned out to be a cellphone from his pocket when he was shot.
The inquest, a public, quasi-judicial process designed to determine the facts of the case, kicked off at 9 a.m. Monday at the Burnaby Coroners Court, 4720 Kingsway. It is expected to continue all week.