Commission clears Langley officers
in Wright shooting

Jennifer Saltman, Vancouver Province, March 22, 2012


Alvin Wright


Jeffrey James Alvin Wright was armed with a hunting knife when he was shot by police during a confrontation at his Langley home, according to a report from the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner.

In the document, released Wednesday, commissioner Stan Lowe concluded that the actions of the three RCMP officers involved were “reasonable and necessary” under the circumstances.

On the evening of Aug. 6, 2010, Wright, 22, and his common-law spouse, Heather Hannon, drank heavily before getting into a verbal fight at their home. Wright demanded that Hannon leave and Hannon called 911. Four officers were dispatched.

Hannon told the officers that she was intoxicated and said Wright was “completely drunk” and sleeping upstairs. Three officers went to check on Wright.

When Sgt. Donald Davidson and Const. Patti Ramsay entered Wright’s bedroom they found him crouched in the closet with a large hunting knife in his right hand and a hatch-et in his left.

Davidson drew his gun and asked Wright repeatedly to drop the weapons. Ramsay called Const. Brent Halm from the main floor of the home for backup. Wright reportedly asked police to shoot him.

Ramsay decided against deploying pepper spray because the room was so small.

Wright stood up, still brandishing the knife and stepped toward David-son. A metre from the officer, Wright raised the knife. Davidson shot him in the midsection.

Davidson told investigators that Wright crouched, looked at him with a pained expression and said, “I wasn’t going to stab you.”

Wright was taken to Royal Columbian Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The entire interaction between police and Wright lasted less than two minutes.

“During this confrontation all of the officers exercised significant restraint in dealing with Mr. Wright. Mr. Wright’s actions were likely fuelled by his emotional state and his level of intoxication, resulting in the exercise of extremely poor judgment on his behalf,” Lowe wrote.

Lowe decided not to forward the file to the Crown.

Lowe’s report is in agreement with a Vancouver police investigation that determined that Davidson, an 18-year RCMP veteran, didn’t break the law and his action was required to protect himself and the other officers from death or grievous bodily harm.

A coroner’s inquest into Wright’s death is scheduled to begin Monday and last five days.

Go to Alvin Wright and OPCC page
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