SIRT investigating after man dies from self-inflicted gunshot while running from Halifax police

Haley Ryan
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Police take photos as part of an investigation into a shooting Feb. 9 on Halifax's Barrington Street.           

Metro Halifax

The province’s Serious Incident Response Team is investigating whether a man who died after an apparent self-inflicted gunshot while running from police meant to shoot himself, or if it was an accident.

Halifax Regional Police say three men and a woman were refused when they tried to book a room at the Radisson Hotel on Hollis Street around 4:20 a.m. Feb. 9.

After they left, a passerby came in and told the staff one of them had fired a gun in the air outside.

Staff Sgt. Reid McCoombs said police searched for the group and found all four people on Blowers Street about 20 minutes later.

“As police approached them, one of the males ran away and police gave pursuit,” McCoombs said.

As the man was running south on Barrington Street, McCoombs said the gun went off, causing a self-inflicted wound.

The 25-year-old man was taken to hospital, were he later died.

McCoombs said the officers who ran after the suspect did not know he carried a weapon. If they had, he said it would depend on the circumstances, but “they would certainly approach very differently.

“We were investigating complaints of a gunshot, but there were four people,” McCoombs said. “We didn’t know who had what, or if they still had it.”

Police arrested the other man and woman involved in the incident outside the hotel, and later arrested a third man at a residence in north end Halifax.

McCoombs said all three were interviewed and released, and no charges have been laid.

Ron MacDonald, SIRT director, said the agency is looking into the 25-year-old’s death and will interview three officers involved in the pursuit.

He said they will also question witnesses, and ask surrounding businesses for surveillance video.

MacDonald said their investigation will try to determine whether the suspect meant to shoot himself, and are exploring all possibilities.

MacDonald said he couldn’t comment on whether the situation should have been handled differently until the investigation is complete, which “will take a while yet.”

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