الرئيسيةCanada NewsFirst Nations father of 2 killed by RCMP in Revelstoke likely trying to get home, says sister-صحيفة الصوت
Canada News

First Nations father of 2 killed by RCMP in Revelstoke likely trying to get home, says sister-صحيفة الصوت

The man shot and killed by RCMP last month following reports of a stolen vehicle in Revelstoke, B.C., was a young Indigenous man trying to get home to Manitoba in time for his son’s birthday, according to his sister.

Garry Pashe Jr., 23, a member of the Long Plain First Nation, was visiting B.C. to help a relative move back to Portage La Prairie, Man., Mellisa Pashe told CBC News. 

She said her brother was “a vibrant kid … always smiling, always happy.” 

Garry loved to work on his motorcycle and four-wheelers, Mellisa said, and he hunted and fished to help feed his family, bringing home elk and deer.

“He never really had bad days, always told everybody he loved them … and always gave everyone hugs.”

A young man wearing a mask on a 4-wheeler.
Garry Pashe Jr. loved to work on his motorcycle, and four-wheelers like the one pictured here, said his sister Mellisa Pashe. (Facebook)

Pashe was killed following reports of a stolen vehicle and a car chase with police late on Aug. 27, according to RCMP.

B.C.’s Independent Investigations Office (IIO), the civilian-led oversight body that investigates all police interactions resulting in death or serious harm, is investigating Pashe’s death. Few details have been released.

Mellisa says Garry’s visit was taking longer than he expected, and he wanted to get back to his young daughter and son.

The last she heard from her younger brother was a text around 3:30 a.m. PT the morning of Aug. 26, asking how she was, and she thought he might have been reaching out to ask for money to get home. 

“That’s the reason why I think he stole the vehicle,” she said. “He was just trying to get home to his children, and he never did make it home.”

A red SUV with a large dent sits on the lawn with a police truck in the distance.
An SUV with a large dent in it and an RCMP truck that appears to have crashed into a chainlink fence pictured on Victoria Road East in Revelstoke, B.C., on Aug. 28. (Aaron Orlando/Twitter)

Few details on fatal incident

Revelstoke RCMP received a report of a stolen vehicle around 11 p.m. PT on Aug. 27.

At 11:48 p.m., RCMP responded after the vehicle owner said they had located the vehicle, but it had been driven away. 

Police attempted to stop the vehicle, and there was contact between it and a police vehicle, according to RCMP.

Police chased the man briefly on foot, RCMP said, and at some point, the man reportedly entered a police vehicle.

RCMP said one officer fired their gun and struck the man, who was then taken to hospital and later pronounced dead. 

Multiple shots were fired, according to the IIO. It’s not known if Pashe had a weapon.

RCMP notified the IIO of the incident near Victoria Road East at 12:10 a.m. PT on Aug. 28. RCMP said it cannot comment on the case as it’s being investigated by the IIO.

A small maroon Honda SUV with a large dent in the rear driver’s side was visible on a grassy area at the scene later that day.

IIO chief civilian director Ronald MacDonald says he cannot release further information about the incident as the agency still has to speak to more witnesses and doesn’t want to risk tainting the investigation.

Across the street from the scene, outside an apartment building, an RCMP truck appeared to have crashed into a large rock and a chainlink fence. Its bumper and front bull bar appeared to be dented.

Police tape cordoned off the scene, where numbered pylons marked potential evidence.

MacDonald said the IIO will look at what risks, if any, Pashe posed to the officers. 

“That would include the presence of weapons, actions, etcetera. But again, it’s too early for me to disclose those details,” he said.

Mellisa says her brother wasn’t a violent person and questions why RCMP couldn’t have used a Taser or less forceful means to subdue him.

“It doesn’t make sense to me why they pointed the gun at him and why they fired shots at him,” she said.

“Knowing that he was taking his last breath and knowing that he was alone is really just hard.”

Indigenous people more likely to be killed, injured by police

While the IIO typically investigates six to seven shooting deaths each year, police shot and killed 15 people between April 2022 and March 2023.

The office investigates the incidents from a criminal standpoint and can recommend charges to the B.C. Prosecution Service, if it finds reasonable grounds, an officer may have committed an offence, such as excessive use of force.

Indigenous people are disproportionately killed or injured by police, according to the IIO’s most recent annual report.

About six per cent of B.C.’s population is Indigenous, according to the 2021 census, but Indigenous people made up 15 per cent of people, whose ethnicity was known, killed or injured by police in the 2022-23 reporting period.

Staff Sgt. Kris Clark, senior media relations officer with B.C. RCMP, said it would be inappropriate for the RCMP to comment on a report authored by another organization.

He pointed to a 2021 RCMP report that, among other things, says the force is working to re-examine its de-escalation framework and “move towards a refreshed model” developed in consultation with Indigenous and racialized communities.

First Nations in Manitoba grieving

Pashe’s death has come as a shock to the closely connected Dakota Tipi and Long Plain First Nations in Manitoba, Dakota Tipi Chief Dennis Pashe told CBC News.

Garry’s father, Garry Pashe Sr., was a member of the Dakota Tipi First Nation and a respected community leader before his death in 2010.

“The community very much grieves with the family …  and we pray for our young people who leave us too soon,” Chief Pashe said, noting the recent death of a 33-year-old councillor.

Chief Pashe says while he doesn’t know the details of how Garry died, he believes police need to have more de-escalation training when encountering First Nations people, who are grappling with intergenerational trauma from colonization, land dispossession and residential schools.

The chief added that he hopes the IIO investigation is truly independent of law enforcement and that police are held accountable.

“So many times our young people don’t know how to deal with anger… and end up killed,” Chief Pashe said. “I think it could have been handled differently.”

It will likely be at least six months until Pashe’s family knows what happened that night, but Mellisa says once his body is returned home to be buried, she will wait patiently for answers.

“Hopefully, justice will prevail in the end [and] my brother will be finally at peace,” she said. 

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