No charges for ENR officer who inadvertently shot man

Last modified: August 27, 2020 at 9:59am

Police and prosecutors have decided no charges will be laid after a wildlife officer in Fort Simpson reportedly shot a man while trying to kill a bear in September 2019.

In a news release announcing the decision on Tuesday, police said they had conducted an initial investigation before referring the file for independent review.

Following that review, prosecutors recommended no charges be laid against the Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) officer, concluding the officer “took reasonable actions to stop an imminent threat.”


At the time of the incident, police said the ENR officer was “tracking a bear within the town’s boundary that posed a safety concern” and “discharged his firearm in response to the bear’s aggressive behaviour.”

“Shortly thereafter, a man reported he had been injured as a result of the discharge,” said RMCP last year.

The injured man was taken to Yellowknife for treatment. The bear was later located and destroyed.

ENR said their own internal investigation had also found the officer had followed procedures, and “his actions in response to the charging bear were justified for the preservation of human life.”

“It’s very unfortunate that a resident of Fort Simpson was injured during this incident,” wrote a department spokesperson in an email, noting officers are regularly trained and assessed to handle firearms.