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Coroners Service to hold inquest on fatal RCMP shooting

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

The B.C. Coroners Service will hold a public inquest into the fatal police shooting of Gregory Matters, who was killed last year after a long standoff with RCMP at a rural property near Prince George, B.C. He was 40 years old.

Mr. Matters was a 15-year veteran with the Canadian Forces and was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder when he called police to his property over a dispute with his brother. A 30-hour standoff ensued when police attempted to arrest Mr. Matters.

On the evening of Sept. 10, 2012, Mr. Matters had become spooked by a helicopter and was allegedly brandishing a hatchet. When an RCMP officer's taser failed to subdue Mr. Matters, another officer shot Mr. Matters twice in the chest.

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Two months ago, B.C.'s Independent Investigations Office cleared the RCMP officers of any wrongdoing in Mr. Matters' death. A few days later, family members of Mr. Matters released a statement questioning the police tactics used in making the arrest.

The coroner's inquest will subpoena witnesses to determine the facts around the death and make recommendations for preventing future fatalities in similar situations. It cannot make any findings of legal responsibility.

The inquest is scheduled to begin on Oct. 7, 2013, and run for four days.

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