Inquest into RCMP standoff

The B.C. Coroners Service has scheduled an inquest for a man who was shot to death in a standoff with RCMP at a remote cabin south of Valemount.

Starting on July 15 at the Prince George courthouse, coroner Donita Kuzma and a jury will hear evidence from witnesses regarding the circumstances surrounding death of John Robert Buehler.

Buehler was killed on Sept. 17, 2014 while his daughter, Shanna, was seriously wounded during a confrontation with RCMP after the two began squatting in trapper's cabin near Kinbasket Lake about 120 kilometres south of Valemount.

Described as a victim of a violent and abusive father who had come to believe he was a prophet of God and that the end-time was nearing, Shanna Buehler was sentenced in November 2017 to 18 months probation with a conditional discharge.

During her sentencing hearing, the court heard that when the cabin's owner had shown up to prepare for the trapping season, John Buehler confronted him and said he wasn't going to leave. RCMP, who had a previous run-in with Buehler, deployed two emergency response teams and a crisis negotiation team but made no headway.

On the evening of his death, the Buehlers drove about two kilometres away from the cabin on small all-terrain vehicles and an RCMP emergency response team moved in to prevent the two from returning to the cabin.

As they took up positions around the building, the sun set and the site was in total darkness. An armed John Buehler returned and charged towards the cabin, refusing to stop despite rounds of beanbag shots and flash-bang devices. RCMP shot him dead when he attempted to use his rifles on police.

A month after Shanna Buehler was sentenced, the B.C. Prosecution Service said it would not pursue charges against members of the ERT.

The inquest jury will have the opportunity to make recommendations aimed at preventing deaths under similar circumstances. The B.C. Coroners Service is not a fault-finding agency.

—Mark Nielsen / Prince George Citizen


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