An audio recording has been released recounting some of the final moments of Greg Matters’s life, as an RCMP officer tried to negotiate the surrender of the distraught former peacekeeper just before he was shot by the force’s emergency response team.
Matters was fatally shot last September on the rural property he shared with his mother near Prince George, B.C.
Only the voice of now-Inspector Brad Anderson can be heard on the half-hour recording entered as evidence at a coroner’s inquest into Matters’s death and released to media late Wednesday.
The interaction heard on the recording suggest Anderson was gaining rapport with Matters and, at one point, had coaxed the 40-year-old to within steps of surrender.
“I just really want to keep this peaceful. I just want to get your side of the story, you know that,” Anderson says, then pauses to listen. “Well let’s come in, you talk to us. Let’s see where you are.”
But the inquest has heard Matters, who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, suddenly retreated to a cabin on the property and the recording suggests he grew increasingly anxious on the other end of the telephone line.
It is clear from the recording that Matters asked for a helicopter that had been deployed to circle overhead be removed.
Anderson later confirms to Matters that the helicopter has landed.
“Hey Greg, okay, there’s people around there right. You know that Greg, right?” Anderson says to Matters, referring to officers on the property.
“It’s escalating,” another officer is heard whispering in the background.
“Where are you? Are you on the driveway now?” Anderson is heard asking Matters. “You want to confront who?”
“He’s talking about a confrontation,” an unidentified officer says again in the background.
“Where, where are you Greg?” Anderson asks. He then tells other officers in the room that Matters is off the phone.
The inquest has already heard Matters was shot in the back during the confrontation with the emergency response team.
Police had gone to Matters’s home to arrest him for an assault during a dispute with his brother in the early-morning hours the day before.
The coroner’s jury has heard that Matters was in treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, that his psychiatrist linked to both his time on a peacekeeping mission in Bosnia and to two assaults he suffered at the hands of his military comrades.
Matters also had several run-ins with RCMP, and made a complaint to the RCMP public complaints commission. That complaint was not substantiated, and Matters felt he was being harassed by police.
He had been in and out of trouble over threats he made in emails to people including his former therapist and a local Crown counsel.