A Williams Lake man who was shot to death by RCMP two years ago could have survived had he been transported to a hospital sooner, said a lawyer representing B.C.’s coroners service.
Rod MacKenzie said Tuesday that 23-year-old Justin Zinser bled to death in September 2011 after he was shot in the torso by a Mountie in Nimpo Lake, in the West Chicoltin area.
MacKenzie said a forensic pathologist who did Zinser’s autopsy concluded the man could have lived.
“He was of the view that if he had gotten to an area with surgical facilities, he could have potentially been saved,” MacKenzie said in an interview.
An inquest report released earlier this month found Mounties posted in remote communities need more first aid training, and rural areas need alternative coverage when there are no ambulance services available to prevent similar deaths in the future.
The coroners inquest heard that at the time of the shooting, the local paramedic was on vacation, forcing officers to put Zinser in the back of a police cruiser so they could take him to a nursing station in nearby Anahim Lake.
MacKenzie said the officers could not find Zinser’s wound to stop the bleeding.
The shooting happened after RCMP received a call about a domestic dispute involving an assault at a cabin.
Mounties were staking out the house and waiting for backup when Zinser, armed with a shot gun, approached the Mounties on foot, prompting an officer to shoot him.
The death was investigated by the Delta Police Department as the province’s Independent Investigations Office had not yet been created.