Lestock, SK (Regina Leader Post) – The operations commander in charge of the RCMP Emergency Response Team (ERT) defended its response to an incident that ended in a fatal shooting.
Taking the stand on Friday at an inquest examining the death of Delbert Kenneth Pelletier, Inspector Len DelPino said ERT’s goal on Nov. 13, 2006, was a peaceful resolution.
The inquest heard that “observers-snipers” were used at a distance from Pelletier’s house on Muskowekwan First Nation to keep an eye on the situation.
Both the lawyer for the Pelletier family and the lawyer for the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations and the Muskowekwan First Nation have suggested that once ERT was deployed, it escalated the situation.
Lawyer Bob Hrycan said the concern was that Pelletier was going to commit “suicide by cop” having more officers and guns didn’t assist.
“The guns are for the safety of each individual,” said DelPino.
“They’re only used if negotiations break down.”
But DelPino said their concern was for the safety of the community and other officers from an armed man.
“I personally can’t think of anything we may have done differently,” said DelPino adding that he was basing that opinion on the information he had at the time.
The inquest has heard that Pelletier was shot by an RCMP sniper after he walked outside on his deck and fired at an armoured vehicle carrying ERT members.
About three minutes earlier, he fired from inside his house at another evacuated residence across the street.