RCMP not responsible for death of Thunderblanket, IIO says

There is no connection between police actions and the death of a man near Revelstoke, the Independent Investigation Office has concluded.

There is no connection between police actions and the death of a man near Revelstoke, the Independent Investigation Office concluded.

Sheldon Kyle Thunderblanket was found dead east of town on Wednesday, Oct. 12, following an extensive manhunt.

He died as a result of trauma to the head after he fell and hit a rock while fleeing police, the IIO reported.

Thunderblanket was wanted in connection with the shooting of two women in Saskatchewan that left one dead the night of Oct. 10, and the shooting of a police officer at a road stop near Golden, B.C. on Oct. 11.

Following the Golden incident, which left the Cst. Amber Brunner injured, Thunderblanket hijacked a vehicle and fled west on the Trans-Canada Highway towards Revelstoke, where he had another altercation with police and fled into the woods.

He was found dead Wednesday morning. The IIO, which is mandated to review incidents where there is serious injury or death as a result of police action, sent nine investigators to Revelstoke to determine what happened.

On Friday, the IIO announced it was releasing jurisdiction of the investigation.

The IIO’s investigation has concluded there is no causal connection between death of the male affected person and actions or inactions of police,” the IIO wrote in a statement.

Their report, which doesn’t mention Thunderblanket by name, said the suspect was struck by police during an exchange of gunfire when he was stopped near Golden. He fled to Revelstoke, where police intercepted his vehicle at around 4 p.m.

A road block was set up and two spike belts were deployed. The suspect didn’t stop and police fired 11 shots at the vehicle, none of which hit the man.

The man continued driving away from the scene until he was out of sight of police, then left his vehicle and fled down the highway embankment. Police searched the area until almost midnight, when they set up to contain the area.

The next morning at 10:10 a.m., Thunderblanket was found dead in the river.

“The autopsy concluded the cause of death to be a head trauma consistent with an impact against a rock,” the IIO stated.

They also found he had a flesh wound in his arm from the shooting near Golden.

The IIO said it interviewed both police and civilian witnesses, reviewed video evidence and 911 calls, and examined physical evidence from the crime scenes.

“There was no direct involvement from police,” said IIO spokesperson Aiden Buckley. “Any time there’s police action or inaction linked to the death, that’s when we’ll continue an investigation through to conclusion. In this case, looking at the injuries sustained by the male, that link hasn’t been shown.”

Jurisdiction will now to go to the RCMP or the BC Coroners Service.

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