Initiated on Monday, the compulsory inquest into the lethal police shooting of Wade Vander Wal is in progress. Along the duration of this virtual examination, which is being administrated from London, testimony from an anticipated eleven witnesses is to be awaited over the coming week-and-a-half.
The inquest initiated an audit of the 9-1-1 calls, scrutinizing the sequence of events leading up to the unfortunate demise of Vander Wal on the evening of December 3, 2019. The incident took place outside his Exter residence, which he shared with his mother.
Several accounts are being heard during the inquest, including those from Vander Wal’s mother and sister. In their declarations, they expressed their earnest hope that no other family has to endure the pain they experienced in the aftermath of losing their loved one.
The narrative disclosed during the inquest informs that the incident was set into motion when a neighbour observed a fire on Vander Wal’s stove and alerted the authorities. Vander Wal, reportedly in an agitated state, declined to evacuate the residence despite the arrival of the fire brigade.
Shortly following the fire crew’s arrival, an OPP officer made his entrance, employing a battering ram to gain entry into the residence. Vander Wal, armed with an axe, initiated an advancement towards the officer. The officer attempted to control Vander Wal using a Taser, an effort that surprisingly produced no effect, leading Vander Wal to further his advance. As a last resort, the officers reciprocated by discharging their firearms at the 44-year-old man.
Vander Wal was reportedly hit with 11 rounds of bullets and succumbed to his injuries in a hospital that night.
Offering a deeper insight into Vander Wal’s life, the inquest learnt that he had been a sufferer of bipolar disorder and had been impaired by two strokes which restricted his speech ability. His family believes that the recent loss of his uncle deteriorated Vander Wal’s mental health crisis on the night of the incident.
The OPP officers implicated in the fatal shooting were exonerated by the Special Investigations Unit in 2020.
Moving forward, the inquest aims to unravel the circumstances of Vander Wal’s unfortunate demise with a view to determine whether there is a potential for implementing different protocols in similar situations to prevent a recurrence in the future.
The inquest proceeds to the testimony phase on Tuesday, with this stage expected to extend into the early part of the subsequent week.