Daniel Antony King’s death at the end of a police pursuit on October 13, 2006 was a homicide, a coroner’s inquest jury has ruled. The anonymous five person jury had heard seven days of evidence from some 25 witnesses before deliberating and releasing its verdict yesterday. They first returned a draft verdict that was kept secret by the coroner.

The jury heard that Danny King, 37, died from multiple gunshot wounds after being shot five times by a Burnaby RCMP member and a New Westminster police member at a Burnaby gas station. According to the evidence, Mr. King lay gasping for breath for several minutes before police officers radioed for an ambulance. No police officer of the dozen or so on the scene rendered first aid.

RCMP media relations personnel originally indicated that lethal force was used because Mr. King produced a hangun. Several days later, they advised the media that the handgun in question was actually an imitation. Evidence presented at the inquest indicated that the toy plastic “Made in China” pistol found at the scene was sent for forensic analysis to lRCMP labs in Vancouver and Edmonton. However, the RCMP produced no forensic reports indicating that Mr. King’s fingerprints or DNA were on the toy.

Testimony at the inquest also revealed that RCMP homicide investigators never interviewed either of the two police officers who fired the fatal shots.

The jury made five recommendations:

1) that video and audio equipment be installed in patrol cars;

2) that transponders be installed in patrol cars;

3) that police officers responding to calls make every effort to “radio in” their location;

4) that officers involved in a lethal force situation be held to a speciified time frame for providing a statement; and

5) that RCMP and municipal police forces create a program implementing “emergency response training”.

These recommendations, which have no binding effect, will be forwarded to the appropriate agencies.