Jared Lowndes with his two daughters and an unidentified woman

Campbell River RCMP may have gunned down an innocent man

The opinions expressed in this article belong to the people expressing them and are not necessarily shared by CKTZ, its board, staff, volunteers or listeners. 

The Campbell River RCMP may have gunned down an innocent man when they killed Jared Lowndes on July 8, 2021. 

A really old warrant, from a case already resolved

The Independent Investigation Office informed Cortes Currents they could not discuss the warrant RCMP were attempting to enforce, when they killed Lowndes. 

The National Police Federation said they were pursuing him for an outstanding warrant for weapons offences.

“The warrant was really old, an outstanding warrant for his DNA, and he was standing on sovereignty, saying they had no right to it,” explained Fay Blaney, the great aunt of Lowndes daughters Phoenix and Patience. 

She is also a close friend of Lowndes mother, Laura Holland, and has agreed to be the family spokesperson

Blaney added that the case requiring Lowndes DNA had been dismissed. It arose out of a domestic dispute with his common-law wife. She planted a gun in his possessions and called the police. There was no need for his DNA after Lowndes’ common-law wife confessed. He was acquitted. 

So why did he run? 

“He’s Indigenous. He was by himself and knew what they would do. I mean, they did what he thought they would do,” said Blaney.

Lowndes grew up in East Vancouver where, Blaney explained, there is considerable friction between police and the Indigenous community. 

“The police officers used to chase them on weekends: beat them, sick dogs on them, maim young Indigenous men and they actually shot one,” she said.

Blaney mentioned two occasions in which police dogs had mauled people and the shooting of Frank Bell, a Kwak^Wala youth from Alert Bay.  

According to the Vancouver Sun, “On March 3, 1992, Frank Bell was fatally shot by Vancouver police after he allegedly confronted two officers by pointing a Sony Walkman at them – which they mistook for a gun.” 

The shooting of Jared Lowndes

Lowndes fled when the RCMP tried to stop him for the outstanding warrant and decided to resolve the situation over the phone. As there were no minutes left on his cell phone, he was attempting to borrow the phone belonging to a friend working at Tim Hortons.

“That’s where [the RCMP] caught up with him. They rammed his vehicle on three sides: front, back and passenger – t-boned him. The vehicle was a write-off. It was so seriously damaged that when the Independent Investigation Office needed to get in, they had to pry the trunk and passenger doors open with a crow bar,” said Blaney. 

She knows this because the Independent Investigation Office asked Lowndes’ mother for permission to search the vehicle. 

(Holland consented, providing there was a family member present.)

Blaney said the RCMP sent police dog Gator in. It attacked both Lowndes and his 4-month old puppy. Lowndes had a knife in his camping gear and used it to defend himself, killing Gator. 

The police dog’s handler was cut during the struggle, which ended in gunfire.

“There were witnesses. They said it happened really fast. They heard three shots fired and [the RCMP] shot [Lowndes] in the head. I understand from others, well Laura, that there were more than three shots fired. From what I saw, when I was standing by the police tape, they shot him in the face. He is having a closed casket funeral. We aren’t able to see, because they shot him in the face,” she said.  

Lowndes’ mother believes he was shot six times.

Blaney was among the friends and family that attempted to hold a ceremony in Tim Horton’s parking lot on the day that Lowndes was shot. That is how she knows that his body was in the car for almost three hours before it was removed at almost 10 PM.   

Lowndes friends and family returned to hold their ceremony the following day. 

She said the RCMP brought Lowndes’ pup to his family there.  

“The puppy was whimpering. It knew it was right around that area where his owner had passed. The puppy is with his daughters now,” said Blaney.

Taking us backward

“[The RCMP] are taking us backwards, in terms of reconciliation. We were the ones that were taken away to residential schools. We were taken by the police. We have all these unmarked graves that are being unearthed. It is reminding us of the role of police in our lives. Now these RCMP officers in Campbell River are transmitting that very legacy to Jared’s daughters, Phoenix and Patience. They are conveying to them what the role of the police officers are in the lives of Indigenous peoples. [The RCMP] are the ones that kill us. They take us away. They are not our friends,” said Blaney.

She mentioned the 2020 shooting of Chantel Moore, a member of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation who had moved to New Brunswick, adding there have been others. 

Police have killed four member’s of Vancouver Island’s Indigenous population in a little more than a year.

Blaney believes the parade held to honour the dead police dog Gator, incited Campbell River’s racists. There were Fire Department vehicles, as well as RCMP. The line of ‘white people’ that came out  to watch stretched all the way from the police station to the top of Dogwood Hill, which Blaney guesses is 3-4 kilometres.

She added that RCMP attempts to blame Lowndes for what happened are premature, given that the Independent Investigation Office has not concluded its investigation.  

In one of the police press releases, the president of the National Police Federation, said, “If Mr. Lowndes had not, however, evaded police, stabbed PSD [police service dog] Gator and injured an RCMP officer, and instead turned himself in to the courts to comply with a warrant for weapons offences, he could be alive today.”

The day after his death, around 20 of Lowndes’ friends and family put up a street-side shrine to honour him. When they returned the following day, the shrine had been torn down and one for Gator put up in its place. They restored the shrine for Lowndes. This has been an ongoing occurrence, day after day. 

“The police can win a PR campaign because they are well resourced and we are not, but we are not going to sit by and let them get away with murdering yet another Indigenous person,” said Blaney. “This polarization that we’re experiencing, I hold the police responsible for that.” 

Links of Interest:

Jared Lowndes with his daughters and an unidentified woman – photo courtesy family of Jared Lowndes

This program was funded by a grant from the Community Radio Fund of Canada and the Government of Canada’s Local Journalism Initiative

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4 thoughts on “Campbell River RCMP may have gunned down an innocent man”

  1. Ya and he stabbed up a very good dog. I seen that dog grow at the vets office while working there. This is bull, if he’s so innocent why did he have a weapon and stab up the poor dog. They gunned him down for killing a police officer. Ya thats right he KILLED A DOG!! Disgusting. How could anyone do that. I had a dog from the police force get ahold of me back in the day, I didn’t stab it up, why the heck would he do that. The dog was doing its job, eat that in your morning cereal, he’s an animal killer. And honestly why run if your innocent. Don’t matter if stuff like that happened in the past, if he was innocent all he had to do was go with the cops and show it. Dont look to innocent when you run then end up killing an innocent dog. Absolutely disgusting.

    1. There are several key points that perceptions of this story hang on.

      Firstly, what is your attitude towards the RCMP (trust or mistrust)? And how do you perceive First Nations people? Your answer to those questions will shape your interpretation of why Jared Lowndes fled.

      Then there is the warrant they were pursuing Lowndes for. The National Police Federation said the outstanding warrant was for weapons offences. https://tinyurl.com/4mk35xfj

      Assuming it was a first offence, the minimum penalty for possession of an unauthorized firearm is one year in prison. https://tinyurl.com/6zk3we8

      Lowndes family confirmed the idea the warrant was related to a weapons offence (possession of an unauthorized firearm) but added the case had already been to court and Lowndes acquitted (someone confessed to planting the gun in his possessions). Do you believe them?

      Now we come to the death of the police dog.

      According to the RCMP news release, they had Lowndes ‘boxed in’ – i.e. he could not get away. https://tinyurl.com/app/myurls

      You are asking why did Lowndes kill a dog? Others are asking why did the RCMP send a police dog in to attack a man who could not get away?

      There are also questions about the six months training the RCMP receive. https://tinyurl.com/4xrn8usr

      Some point to the fact Lowndes is the fourth member of Vancouver Island’s indigenous community that police have killed in a little more than a year. (3 were killed on the island, 1 was killed in New Brunswick.) https://tinyurl.com/3upykn84

      Have they received sufficient training in defusing rather than escalating situations like this?

      How much training have they received in dealing with minorities? – especially minorities that may not trust the police?

      It has been six years since RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson told the Assembly of First Nations, “I understand that there are racists in my police force. I don’t want them to be in my police force.” https://tinyurl.com/fn2fb4m6

      What have the RCMP done to detect and weed out the racists in their ranks?

      Lastly, was either the RCMP’s lack of training in de-escalating intense situations or racism a contributing factor in the shooting of Jared Lowndes?

  2. How judgemental, racist to assume it was only white people along the route that honoured a killed member of the RCMP! You are going as backwards as rcmp

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