Slocan lockdown ended in death of perpetrator
By Angela Espinoza, News Editor
Peter DeGroot was the target of an intense manhunt Thanksgiving weekend in Slocan, BC. DeGroot allegedly shot at police on October 9 before running into a nearby forest; he was killed on October 13.
The initial altercation between DeGroot and police allegedly involved DeGroot firing at several officers who were responding to a dispute between two people—the dispute may have involved DeGroot. As police fired back, DeGroot escaped into a wooded area and was suspected of hiding there during the search.
Police kept the small town of Slocan under lockdown between October 9 and October 11 as they searched for DeGroot. At the time, DeGroot was reported to be armed and dangerous, roaming the woods with several weapons. Although police did not locate DeGroot until October 13, witnesses believed DeGroot had left the inhabited area, leading police to eventually lift the lockdown.
DeGroot was located in a cabin on October 13 where, after what RCMP Superintendent Frank Smart referred to as an “interaction,” DeGroot was shot and killed by police.
In a public statement, Smart said, “This was a serious incident and we are providing ongoing support to the families of the deceased as well as to the police officers involved.”
Since DeGroot’s death was announced on October 14, friends have come forward revealing DeGroot may have suffered from various mental issues. DeGroot had apparently lived in Victoria throughout the ‘90s, and as of late had been taking care of numerous animals on his own, while, as CTV reports, he had financial difficulties and resided in a van.
As more information of DeGroot, who was 45 at the time of his death, has been made public, many have expressed support for DeGroot regarding his well-being prior to his final altercation with police. A Facebook memorial page for DeGroot currently has over 300 likes, and provides more possible details on DeGroot’s volunteer care-taking of animals.
Dione DeGroot Beard posted to the Facebook page stating, “This was a predictable outcome. It did not have to end this way.”
Despite the public support of those who knew DeGroot and those who feel they are not receiving the full story, police maintained they felt DeGroot was a serious threat following his alleged October 9 shooting attempt. DeGroot was known to police, albeit for publicly unknown reasons. There is currently an investigation being performed by the Independent Investigations Office, a BC police watchdog. Reasons behind the watchdog investigation include the limited amount of information that has been revealed regarding the “interaction” that lead to DeGroot’s death.