Skip to main content

RCMP Insp. Tim Shields holds up photos of Angus David Mitchell during a news conference in Burnaby, B.C., Wednesday, May 30, 2012.

JONATHAN HAYWARD/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The man who killed two people and wounded another with a high-powered rifle did not meet criteria for involuntary psychiatric hospital admission when he was assessed by doctors in the months before the shootings, a coroner's inquest has heard.

After bringing a newly purchased rifle to a Victoria-area clinic on Feb. 7, 2012, police confronted Angus Mitchell in his home. He answered the door with his knife in his boxer shorts, according to documents read during the inquest.

Mr. Mitchell was arrested under the Mental Health Act and brought by police to the Royal Jubilee Hospital emergency room for assessment.

Story continues below advertisement

Dr. Sean Henry, an emergency room doctor, met with Mr. Mitchell early the next morning. He testified Wednesday at the inquest into Mr. Mitchell's death at the hands of police.

Dr. Henry told the inquest he found the circumstances surrounding Mr. Mitchell concerning.

"He was found with a rifle, which he had carried into a doctor's office," he testified. "Secondly, he was found with a knife in his underwear. It appeared to me he had tendency towards possible violence. And possibly most alarming to me, he had written a letter to a landlord saying if he died, he wanted all his items disposed of. At 26 years of age, there are not many reasons for death other than killing himself."

After a 10-minute assessment, Dr. Henry diagnosed Mr. Mitchell as experiencing a "situational crisis," according to medical records presented at the inquest. He then signed a form involuntarily admitting Mr. Mitchell for up to 48 hours.

Dr. Brent Gould, a psychiatrist at the Royal Jubilee Hospital, received the referral and assessed Mr. Mitchell later in the day. He testified he too was concerned and wanted to probe whether Mr. Mitchell was a danger.

But Dr. Gould said Mr. Mitchell had reasonable explanations for the events preceding his arrest.

Mr. Mitchell disclosed he had a history of depression and substance abuse, but was not currently experiencing problems. Dr. Gould noted he was experiencing some paranoid thoughts and was generally distrusting of individuals. But Dr. Gould testified there were no elements of psychoses, depression or mania that would place Mr. Mitchell at risk to himself or others.

Story continues below advertisement

Under the 2005 British Columbia Mental Health Act, a patient must be "suffering from a mental disorder that seriously impairs the person's ability to react appropriately to his or her environment or to associate with others."

"Mr. Mitchell did not meet the first criteria for involuntary status under the mental health act," said Dr. Gould. "I would not have been able to hold him against his own will."

Mr. Mitchell was released on Feb. 8, 2012, at 3 p.m.

On May 27, Mr. Mitchell killed a sushi restaurant owner and an employee. Two days later, he shot and injured his former landlord.

The RCMP's Lower Mainland Emergency Response Team issued a public warning on May 30. A region-wide manhunt for Mr. Mitchell ensued, and a witness tipped off police to his location.

When Mr. Mitchell fired at RCMP officers, police returned fire, killing him.

Story continues below advertisement

Police later said Mr. Mitchell had a hit list naming individuals and businesses.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • All comments will be reviewed by one or more moderators before being posted to the site. This should only take a few moments.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed. Commenters who repeatedly violate community guidelines may be suspended, causing them to temporarily lose their ability to engage with comments.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Cannabis pro newsletter