Yesterday, the Commission for Public Complaints against the RCMP announced that it had amended the chair-initiated complaint into the fatal shooting of Kevin St. Arnaud:

“Mr. Paul Kennedy, Chair of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP (CPC), the federal agency that provides independent civilian review of RCMP members’ conduct in performing their policing duties, has amended a complaint into the events related to the shooting death of Kevin St. Arnaud near Vanderhoof, British Columbia, pursuant to section 45.37(1) of the RCMP Act.

The inquest into Mr. St. Arnaud’s death occurred in January 2007. It became clear from evidence heard during the inquest that there are also issues relating to the adequacy of the original criminal investigation that need to be addressed as part of the Commission’s public complaint.

As such, Mr. Kennedy is amending his public complaint to add the following allegation:

Members of the RCMP failed to conduct an adequate investigation into the death of Mr. St. Arnaud.”

Kevin St. Arnaud

Kevin St. Arnaud

The coroner’s inquest jury heard evidence that RCMP constable Ryan Sheremetta, then 22, shot Kevin St. Arnaud, 29, three times in the chest from a distance of some 5.5 metres in the early morning hours of December 19, 2004. Kevin was intoxicated, unarmed, had his hands up and was holding only a white plastic bag and two plastic pill bottles just before he was killed.

Cst. Sheremetta testified he feared for his life and fired all three bullets from flat on his back as Kevin approached him in a menacing manner, shouting, “you’re gonna have to shoot me motherfucker”. However, his colleague Cst. Colleen Erickson, a twenty four year veteran of the RCMP, saw the shooting from nearby and testified that Sheremetta was standing “in a combat stance” when he fired the shots and that she did not hear the alleged threat. A civilian eyewitness reported that Sheremetta was standing just before the shots rang out, and that Kevin had his hands up in surrender.

The forensic evidence of three experts revealed that both men were standing, that Kevin was stationary just before he collapsed, and that the three fatal bullets entered his body in a downward trajectory of 30 to 40 degrees. The primary investigator, RCMP Staff Sgt. Glenn Krebs, conceded that he concluded in April of 2005 that there were “inaccuracies” in Sheremetta’s account , but his superior, RCMP Staff Sgt. Flath nonetheless subsequently advised Crown Counsel that there was “insufficient evidence” to support criminal charges.

Cst. Sheremetta reportedly remains on active duty with the RCMP in Kamloops, as does Cst. Paul Koester, who fatally shot Ian Bush in Houston, BC in October of 2005. Kevin St. Arnaud leaves three young children, his parents, two younger brothers and a sister.