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A carjacking suspect died Tuesday after police say shots were fired during an attempted arrest at a ferry terminal in Nanaimo, British Columbia.

RCMP say officers were called to the Departure Bay terminal to arrest a male in connection with allegations of a “violent” carjacking in another part of B.C.

Initial information based on police accounts indicates the suspect got out of the vehicle with what was believed to be a gun and shots were fired, the Mounties said in a release.

The male, whose name and age were not released, was seriously injured and later died, police said. No police officers were injured.

RCMP declined further comment because B.C.’s police watchdog has taken over the investigation, which happens whenever police actions result in serious harm or death.

Ron MacDonald, the chief civilian director of the Independent Investigations Office, said there are a number of things the agency will have to determine including whether the suspect was armed and if there was an exchange of gunfire.

“Our understanding at this point is the driver exited the car and there was an interaction between the police and the driver. At that time the male driver was shot and he was taken to hospital, where he’s subsequently pronounced deceased,” he told a news conference.

“At this point we’re not sure if there was an exchange of gunfire or not. That, obviously, is a very important part of our investigation.”

MacDonald said the agency’s investigators were still trying to find out where on the B.C. mainland the alleged carjacking took place and the circumstances surrounding it.

“Carjacking is effectively a robbery of a motor vehicle ,which obviously insinuates that some violence was involved, but we don’t have details of that at this time,” he said.

The agency had about 10 people in Nanaimo as part of its investigation, he said.

“We do know that some steps were taken with the staff on the ferry to ensure this (suspect) vehicle was one of the last getting off the boat at the time before the takedown occurred,” MacDonald said.

Former Saanich mayor Frank Leonard said he heard a loud bang and then a series of gunshots when he was sitting in his vehicle waiting for ferry traffic to unload from the B.C. mainland.

“I thought six to eight (shots) – witnesses always get that wrong,” he said in an interview. “Then it was all quiet, really, really quiet.”

Leonard couldn’t say if shots were exchanged.

“The incident was away from everybody in a relatively confined place,” he said.

BC Ferries said one of its vessels departed about 45 minutes late as a result of the shooting, but sailings were still scheduled to proceed throughout the day.

The ferry terminal is the main access route between the mainland and central Vancouver Island.

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