A Surrey Mountie who shot and killed a 28-year-old man after an exchange of gunfire on March 2 has been cleared of any wrongdoing.
An external investigation by Saanich Police, released Wednesday, concluded that an RCMP officer did not contravene the Criminal Code when he fired off 30 rounds from his 9-mm sidearm to reduce the threat posed by Adam Brian Purdie.
Purdie (left) was found dead in his car with the barrel of a 22-calibre rifle pointed at the cruiser the officer was in.
“(Under the Criminal Code,) the officer has the right to use as much force as he sees necessary to prevent his own injury or death,” said Saanich Police spokesperson Sgt. Dean Jantzen. “One thing (the officer) was very clear with our investigators about is he realized he was going to die.”
Though the fragments from only one 22-calibre bullet were found – inside Purdie’s skull as a result of self-inflicted wounds – two spent casings were found in the Surrey man’s white Chrysler 300.
“We believe he did fire off rounds at the officer,” Jantzen said.
An autopsy determined that a shot to Purdie’s upper chest caused his death, not the self-inflicted head wounds.
Around 10 p.m. on March 2, Purdie caught the attention of undercover cops working on a separate matter near 16 Avenue and 128 Street. A licence plate query determined the registered owner, Purdie, had a history of firearms-related offences and a call was made to have uniformed officers attend.
Forty-five minutes later he was pulled over by an RCMP officer in the 15400 block of 16 Ave. That officer spotted the rifle in the backseat of his car, and Purdie sped away.
“At no time was there a pursuit,” Jantzen said.
Purdie’s vehicle was spotted again 15 minutes later travelling north on King George Boulevard south of Highway 10. Two officers at Highway 10 deployed a spike belt prior to Purdie’s arrival, but he spotted it and swerved to avoid it, striking two civilian vehicles.
“It was (the officer’s) belief that Purdie, by virtue of his dangerous driving and the fact he was known to have a firearm, posed a danger to the public and officers in the immediate area,” Jantzen said.
The officer involved in the shooting used his vehicle to force Purdie off the road. When both vehicles came to a stop, parallel to one another, the officer said he saw the muzzle of Purdie’s assault rifle pointed at him.
He attempted to put his car in reverse, but having struck the Chrysler, the police cruiser was stalled.
“The officer … immediately pulled his firearm and began to shoot at Purdie,” Jantzen said.
The officer emptied 30 rounds from two magazines, many of which did not penetrate the Chrysler door.
“Our investigators firmly believe lives were saved by this officer’s actions,” Jantzen said.
Purdie had recently broken up with an ex-girlfriend and had threatened to harm her and anyone she become involved with, police say. He was convicted in 2003 of firearms offences for threatening a past girlfriend’s new boyfriend with a firearm.
When Purdie was initially pulled over, he was two blocks away from his recent ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend.
“Purdie had obtained the name of a possible new boyfriend through acquaintances,” Jantzen said, adding that based on search results on Purdie’s computer, police believe he was attempting to locate this individual.
The name of the officer involved in the shooting is being withheld at the request of the RCMP.
“He does enjoy privacy rights. At the conclusion of this, and our determination that everything that happened was within the law and that there is no contravention of the Criminal Code, he has the right to privacy,” Jantzen said.
The Mountie, who had more than six years experience when the shooting occurred, has since been transferred out of province, though police say the transfer request was put in prior to the incident.
– with files from Black Press