A man who acted erratically after arriving at Vancouver International Airport
early Sunday died after police used a Taser on him.
Sgt. Pierre Lemaitre said the man was out of control, sweating profusely and yelling
in what was believed to be an Eastern European language.
“He was pounding on the glass windows that was there, he actually grabbed
a computer at one of the work desks and threw that to the ground,” he
Airport security called the RCMP, who were one level above, to help contain
When they arrived, officers tried to motion to the man, who didn’t appear
to speak English, to calm down and put his hands on a desk. Police said the
man didn’t respond to their requests and reached to throw something.
It was at that point an officer used a Taser on the 40-year-old twice in an
attempt to immobilize him. However, Lemaitre said the man continued to be combative.
“(The Taser) didn’t seem to have any kind of effect on him,”
Police held the man down in an attempt to subdue him, and he was handcuffed.
The man, who was still flailing, then lapsed into unconsciousness.
He died shortly after paramedics arrived.
A coroner is investigating the incident and a toxicology report will be done
to determine if there were drugs in the man’s system.
“We don’t know if it was intoxication,” said Lemaitre. “It
was certainly not normal behaviour. An autopsy from the coroner’s office
is going to be of great help to us to determine if it was alcohol or drugs or
some other kind of medical condition.”
He also said the incident was likely not related to terrorism.
Because the man died while at the hands of police, the Commission for Public
Complaints were contacted to investigate the incident.
Investigators will determine where the man came from and what he may have been
doing prior to the incident. Interpol will be contacted to verify the man’s
identity. He was travelling with identification.
Lemaitre said the man appeared to be alone and no one was waiting for him at
the arrivals area. International arrivals had been rerouted but there were no
delays in flight schedules.