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Too quick to pass judgement

Another police-involved shooting in Gibsons has some on edge and some blaming police for their actions.

Another police-involved shooting in Gibsons has some on edge and some blaming police for their actions.

Last Friday night, Sunshine Coast RCMP were called to a Gibsons home to speak with a man after getting a report from Langley RCMP of an alleged threat on a social networking page. The officers went to talk to the man. There was no warrant, no plan of an arrest, just a conversation. That conversation took a horrible turn, when the man allegedly got in possession of a claw hammer and held it over his head in a threatening manner. One officer discharged his weapon, striking the man twice in the lower body. Paramedics were called, he received treatment and was airlifted to hospital in Vancouver where he remains in recovery.

When the story broke last Saturday afternoon and the Lower Mainland media swarmed for a press conference at municipal hall, one of the first questions from one Vancouver reporter was: is there a lack of confidence in the local RCMP? Are elected officials, namely Mayor Barry Janyk, concerned by the increase in gun violence in our community? Both are loaded questions (excuse the pun).

Yes, the community of Gibsons has seen two police-involved shootings in three months, the first one in March at Christenson Village.

There is no question that two shootings in three months is troubling. The fact that they were both police-involved is also troubling, but each case should stand on its own, be investigated properly on its own and should not be compared. And until both investigations are complete, it's far too early to be playing the blame game.

The Internet comments were flying Saturday night once the story was posted on-line on several news sites, including Coast Reporter's. While not everyone was blaming the police, some hard criticism was handed out.

Certainly the RCMP in this province have a less than stellar record of late. There have been several high-profile cases where the conduct of some officers is questionable, but that doesn't mean that every officer should be painted with that same brush.

We were not present last Friday and have no idea what threatening situation the officers faced which led to one of them firing. Let the investigations play out and let's get all the facts before rushing to judgement.