Southeast District Commander Chief Superintendent Frank Smart confirmed in a news conference Monday evening in Kelowna that 45-year-old Peter DeGroot of Slocan was killed in a police interaction in a cabin west of the village of Slocan.
Smart told media in a press conference at the Southeast District Headquarters in the Central Okanagan City “there was some sort of interaction” between DeGroot and two members of the Emergency Response Team.
“Earlier today, at approximately 1:20 p.m. (Monday), two members of the Emergency Response Team were in the area of Slocan near a gravel pit conducting a search of a cabin,” Smart said in a media release.
“Upon entering the cabin there was an interaction between the subject of the ongoing search and the two ERT members.”
“We can confirm the suspect (Peter DeGroot) is now deceased,” Smart added.
“No police officers or members of the public were injured.”
The ERT had been searching the area in and around the village of Slocan since Thursday, when the 6-foot, one inch 170-pound DeGroot allegedly fired on police when RCMP responded to a dispute between two individuals on Slocan West Road near Gravel Pit Road.
Smart did not confirm how DeGroot died but did say the Independent Investigations Office is reviewing this case.
“This was a serious incident and we are providing ongoing support to families of the deceased as well as the police officers involved,” Smart said.
Smart did not say when the Independent Investigations Office would begin the review but was hoping officers would be on scene in Slocan within the next 24 hours.
“With respect to the parallel investigation that was launched after the initial call to police on Thursday (Oct. 9), we can confirm that our efforts had wrapped up and we were in the process of releasing the scene of the initial accident and removing all police roadblocks and restrictions in the Slocan area,” Smart explained.
Smart went on to thank the community of Slocan for its cooperation and patience to police restrictions and requests during the past few days.
“A number of additional resources were called to manage the police investigation and search and our efforts worked to find the right balance between limiting or opening areas around Slocan as we addressed public safety issues,” Smart said.
Police respond to Slocan property dispute
It was on Thursday (October 9) at approximately 12:21 pm, that Slocan/New Denver RCMP responded to a dispute between two individuals on Slocan West Road near Gravel Pit Road.
While on scene, DeGroot allegedly fired upon police with a long rifle before retreating into the surrounding forest.
No members of the public or RCMP officers were injured in the exchange of bullets.
The local W.E. Graham Elementary School was locked down following the gun fire exchange before the students and staff were evacuated a short time later.
Due to the nature of the offence and the risk to public safety, police locked down the village of Slocan and told residents to remain indoors until further notice.
Police, including ERT members and other police from across the province as well as Police Service Dog, had been searching the mountains around Slocan for DeGroot, who was believed to be armed with multiple firearms.