Editorial — Plaudits for the RCMP

Police handled the situation of a murder and shooting last week with utmost professionalism and concern for the public.

The  RCMP has come in for some intense criticism in recent weeks, but it’s also worthwhile noting that the force did an outstanding job last week in dealing with a young man armed with a high-powered rifle, who was suspected of killing two people and wounding a third.

The full chronology is worth repeating, as it shows how effectively police were able to deal with this case, and how they took public safety very seriously.

On  Sunday evening, May 27, a passerby noticed a body in a Burnaby sushi house. Police investigated and found that two people were dead.

The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team, which is mainly made up of RCMP officers and works in most Lower Mainland municipalities, was called in and did extensive investigation on Monday.

On Tuesday, May 29, a Burnaby man was shot in front of his home by a former tenant, armed with a rifle. He had evicted the tenant six months earlier, and the young man had been living in his van ever since. The man was seriously injured, but police were able to recover evidence which suggested a link to the double murder.

The following day, Burnaby RCMP issued a public warning that Angus Mitchell was armed, dangerous, living in his van and possibly working through a list of people he had issues with. They gave details about his van, including the licence number, and warned anyone who had associated with him in the past to be very cautious.

Less than an hour later, police received a tip that the van was in a rural area of Maple Ridge. They moved in, tried to get Mitchell to surrender, and shot him after he shot at them. He later died.

While it is tragic that he was shot, police could not take chances with a man they suspected of shooting three people in the past three days. Once he began shooting, they had to return fire.

The RCMP did an outstanding job in quickly investigating the two shooting incidents, and then fitting the evidence together. Most importantly, they issued a public and detailed warning. This allowed the matter to be dealt with quickly, because there is little doubt that Mitchell would have tried to kill someone else quite quickly.

The RCMP deserve commendation for a job well done. They protected the public and solved two very serious crimes. While they would say it’s all part of the job, it’s not an easy job.

It was a job well done.