Inquest called into death of man shot 3 times by Winnipeg police

Manitoba’s chief medical examiner has called an inquest into the death of a man shot three times by Winnipeg police.

Jason Collins, 36, died in the early hours of April 9, 2020, after officers responded to a 911 call about a domestic dispute at a home on Anderson Avenue.

The female caller said a man was armed with a gun and a child was present in the house, according to a release on Friday from the office of Dr. John K. Younes, the chief medical examiner.

When officers arrived, they heard a woman screaming inside and forced their way into the house where they saw Collins holding a firearm to his own head, according to the release.

The officers backed out of the house and surrounded the property. While attempting to talk with Collins a 15-year-old girl escaped from the rear of the house.

At some point, Collins came out the front door of the house, still holding the gun. Officers fired and hit him three times, according to the release.

Officers performed CPR until an ambulance arrived and rushed Collins to the Health Sciences Centre, where he was declared dead.

The cause of death was determined to be gunshot wounds to the torso and declared a homicide.

Manitoba’s police watchdog, the Independent Investigation Unit, conducted an investigation and released its report earlier this month, determining that no charges should be laid against any of the involved officers.

Although Collins’s weapon was later revealed to be a BB gun “it was a reasonable and honest belief that [there was] a real likelihood” that he “could have delivered a potentially lethal injury with his firearm,” IIU civilian director Zane Tessler wrote in his report, adding the BB gun looked like a real gun.

Inquests can be called under the Fatality Inquiries Act if the chief medical examiner has reasonable grounds to believe the deceased person died as a result of use of force by a peace officer acting in the course of duty.

However, an inquest cannot find assign blame or legal responsibility. 

It will examine the circumstances and events leading to Collins’s death for the purpose of finding out what, if anything, can be done to prevent similar deaths in the future.