Barry Shantz in 2015 in front of a homeless camp at Gladys Avenue and Cyril Street. Abbotsford News file photo.

Barry Shantz in 2015 in front of a homeless camp at Gladys Avenue and Cyril Street. Abbotsford News file photo.

RCMP officers cleared in killing of Abbotsford homeless advocate

Barry Shantz was shot following a mental health crisis at his home on on Jan. 13, 2020,

Lytton RCMP officers who shot and killed a well-known Abbotsford homeless advocate will not be charged with any offence, said B.C.’s police watchdog in a report on Tuesday (Oct. 19).

On the morning of Jan. 13, 2020 Barry Shantz was shot on his front porch in Lytton, B.C., following a six-hour standoff with police after his partner had called for help that morning.

Shantz was reportedly suicidal, and walked out of his house holding a shotgun after he told officers over the phone that he wanted to be shot.

RELATED: Abbotsford homeless advocate killed by RCMP in Lytton

The Independent Investigations Office’s (IIO) report found that RCMP officers had reasonable grounds in using lethal force, and Shantz had fired a single shot over the heads of the first two arriving officers from his home.

An Emergency Response Team was called shortly afterwards, the report said.

The IIO spoke to seven civilian witnesses and 11 police officers in its investigation and reviewed recordings of 911 calls, police radio transmissions, records, training records and policies, along with autopsy and toxicology reports.

Civilian witnesses said Shantz’s “health and his behaviour were deteriorating noticeably.”

Shantz’s partner and her daughter told the IIO they locked themselves in the basement around 7:45 a.m. that day and called 911, telling the dispatcher the he had “kinda lost his mind and he’s got a gun… I wanna (sic) cop here.” They went on to say they heard him “playing with the gun in the bedroom.”

When the dispatcher asked if the distressed man was a danger to others, one of them said “he’s never hurt a soul… he’s just losing it up there and I’m scared right now.”

Crisis negotiators and his family members had tried to talk to Shantz down from his barricaded house, but were unsuccessful, according to the report.

RCMP tried to get assistance from a trained mental health professional, but none was available in the short time frame, said the IIO’s chief civilian director, Ron MacDonald, in a news conference on Tuesday.

“Unfortunately, in the time available, that didn’t pan out.”

Shantz told a 911 operator he was going to exit the house at 2:06 p.m., and requested officers shoot him six times, the report said.

He was shot at 2:05 p.m., according to the report, and was holding the loaded shotgun with the safety off.

Paramedics attempting to save him were unsuccessful.

“There was nothing to suggest that [Shantz] was surrendering. It was not necessary to wait until he actually pointed the shotgun at someone or pulled the trigger — it would only have taken moments for him to do so,” read Tuesday’s report, explaining the IIO’s reasoning against recommending charges to the Crown.

“It was not necessary to wait until he actually pointed the shotgun at someone or pulled the trigger – it would only have taken moments for him to do so.”

Shantz was well-known advocate for Abbotsford’s homeless community and was a founding member of the B.C. Association of Drug War Survivors.

RELATED: Abbotsford homeless advocate killed by RCMP leaves behind complicated legacy

His advocacy spearheaded the change to city bylaws which restricted camping in public parks in 2015, and the case went all the way to the Supreme Court. He also led the charge in pressuring the city to allow harm-reduction services for drug users.

People close to Shantz said that serving a 15-year prison sentence in the U.S. for marijuana trafficking had left him traumatized and with severe PTSD. Shantz also suffered from other mental health issues, which he was open about.

He had moved from Abbotsford to Lytton several years ago.

– with files from Katya Slepian

abbotsfordMission

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An inmate at Mission Institution has had his request to reverse a transfer from Mission’s minimum-security prison denied. / Kevin Mills File Photo
Serial rapist’s bid to go back to Mission’s minimum-security prison denied, after alleged fixation on 2 female staff

Clifford Barry Howdle went on violent sexual-assault spree in 1999 while out on day parole

Edwin S Richards Elementary. Google Maps street-view image.
COVID-19 exposure at Edwin S. Richards Elementary in Mission

Parents received letter on Dec. 3, advising of exposure on Nov. 17, 18, 19, 20 and 23

Joe Fast of Abbotsford is on dialysis four days a week and has issued a public plea for a kidney donor. (Submitted photo)
Abbotsford man with 5% kidney function is desperately in need of a live donor

Joe Fast has a rare blood type and hasn’t yet been able to find a transplant match

Tabor Home in Abbotsford. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
COVID-19 outbreaks continue at 2 Abbotsford care homes

Tabor Home and Menno Home still battling the virus

Information about the number of COVID-19 cases in Abbotsford and other municipalities poses a danger to the public, the Provincial Health Services Authority says. (Photo: Tyler Olsen/Abbotsford News)
More city-level COVID-19 data would jeopardize public health, B.C. provincial health agency says

Agency refuses to release weekly COVID-19 case counts, citing privacy and public health concerns

Pickleball game in Vancouver on Sunday, November 8, 2020. B.C.’s public health restrictions for COVID-19 have been extended to adult team sports, indoors and outside. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
711 more COVID-19 cases detected in B.C. Friday

‘Virus is not letting up and neither can we’

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix wears a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19, during an announcement about a new regional cancer centre, in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, August 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
PHSA bought faulty ventilators; spent money on catering, renovations: Dix

Such spending included ‘unnecessary, unbudgeted renovations’ to the authority’s headquarters in Vancouver

B.C. NDP leader John Horgan releases his election platform, Vancouver, Oct. 6, 2020, featuring COVID-19 relief payments promised for most households. (B.C. NDP photo)
Next $1.5 billion in B.C. COVID-19 cash ‘prudent,’ Horgan says

New round of paymens for household incomes up to $175,000

KIJHL games have been postponed through Dec. 31. (File photo)
KIJHL postpones all games through end of 2020

Due to provincial health orders, games up to Dec. 31 have been pushed back

Robert Riley Saunders. (File)
Former Kelowna social worker arrested for allegedly stealing from foster kids

Robert Riley Saunders was arrested in Alberta and will be brought back to B.C. to face charges

Logo
VIDEO: I Love Mission Holiday Giveaway

Shop locally between December 4-11 and you may get an additional surprise of a free gift card

Melissa David, of Parachutes for Pets and her dogs Hudson and Charlie are trying to raise money for a homeless shelter that will allow pets and are seen in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘My only wish:’ Children asking pet charity to help their furry friends at Christmas

Parachutes for Pets says it has received 14 letters from children in the last week

Melissa Velden and her chef-husband Chris Velden, stand in their dining room at the Flying Apron Inn and Cookery in Summerville, N.S. on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. The couple is hosting holiday parties with appropriate distancing and other COVID-19 health protocols in place at their restaurant. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Celebrities, Santa and Zoom part of office holiday parties being held amid COVID-19

Many will send tokens of appreciation to workers or offer time off or cash

Most Read