Sister Danna reveals misrepresentation of Peter in media
By Angela Espinoza, News Editor
When the Other Press originally covered the Peter de Groot story, media at the time misspelled de Groot’s surname as “DeGroot.” Peter also did not have a criminal history as earlier reported.
On October 20, the family of Slocan shooter Peter de Groot spoke out for the first time at a press conference. The family’s response was that Peter’s death was unjust, and felt police could have done more to keep the situation from escalating.
Peter allegedly fired at police during an October 9 altercation, which resulted in the three-day lockdown of Slocan, BC. Police searched for Peter until October 13, when they found him in a cabin and, noting his gun was pointed at them when they entered, shot and killed him.
Peter’s sister, Danna de Groot, helmed the conference and talked on behalf of the de Groot family. One of the major points of the conference was how the family felt Peter had been negatively portrayed in the media. “He was, very simply, the most knowledgeable and intelligent person that I’ve ever known,” said Danna.
Media reports rapidly spread misinformation about Peter, such as a criminal history, drug and alcohol problems, and that Peter suffered from schizophrenia—all of which Danna claimed were false. Regarding Peter living on his own and taking in animals, Danna stated he preferred to be alone: “He went back to his childhood roots of reading and writing, trapping and farming.”
Danna stressed Peter did not have a history of violence, came from a supportive family, and had previously suffered numerous health problems. “His body was ravaged over time; it was easy to judge him.”
After the police hunt for Peter began, another sibling informed Danna of the situation; Danna then attempted numerous times to speak with the RCMP, first over the phone, then in person. Danna reportedly drove up from Vancouver to Slocan to try and talk with police and let Peter know she was there.
Danna stated RCMP refused her requests to help search for her brother in an attempt to find out how the situation got to the point of manhunt and lockdown. Danna stayed in Slocan for the duration of the situation and reported updates to her family via text. While in Slocan, she was eventually contacted by RCMP, who informed her of Peter’s death.
“Why was my repeated request to talk to Peter ignored and our efforts disregarded?” said Danna. “Why was it too much trouble to get us to help to preserve the life of our vulnerable brother and prevent the killing from happening?
“The officers on the scene had to have had a complete and utter disregard for his life or they would have taken the time to save him.”
The de Groot family is currently seeking legal action. Their hope is that further investigation could reveal a clause for a “wrongful death” suit. Danna defended that if Peter had allegedly shot at police first, as reported, he likely felt threatened.