Girlfriend of man fatally shot by Edmonton police speaks: ‘We were surrounded’

Girlfriend of man fatally shot by Edmonton police speaks: ‘We were surrounded’

The girlfriend of the 34-year-old wanted man shot and killed by police in southeast Edmonton Wednesday is sharing her perspective of what happened in the parking lot of the Urban Village condo complex.

Melissa Dumais says she was in the truck with her boyfriend of a month and a half, Buck Evans — as well as a friend — when they were pulled over by police.

Edmonton Police Service Insp. Trevor Hermanutz said that around 2 p.m. Wednesday, officers were “conducting surveillance on a vehicle carrying a male with a number of outstanding warrants and who was believed to be armed and dangerous.”

The officers conducted a traffic stop in the the area of 79 Avenue and 71 Street, and “two occupants of the vehicle exited without incident,” Hermanutz said.

“The male with outstanding warrants was non-compliant and remained in the vehicle. An incident took place between the suspect male and responding officers. Officers subsequently discharged their service weapons and struck the 34-year-old male.”

Police say Evans was pronounced dead in hospital, but Dumais said he was already lifeless at the scene.

One week earlier, Dumais and Evans’ friend, Nicholas Lepine, noticed a change in Evans’ demeanor. He was frequently looking over his shoulder and questioning friends about who they were talking to, Dumais said.

“He started telling me that he was getting nervous. I asked him why and he said, ‘They’re going to get me,’” Lepine recalled.

“Yeah, they’re going to arrest you one of these days, it’s bound to happen. That’s the lifestyle, that’s what you chose,” Lepine told his friend. “He said, ‘No, they’re not going to arrest me man, they’re going to shoot me.”

Watch: Residents at an apartment in southeast Edmonton say they heard what sounded like gunshots or fireworks. Officers with guns drawn, surrounded a truck. Sarah Kraus reports from the scene. (Dec. 26) 

Dumais said that morning, she saw an assault rifle in the truck when Evans came to pick her up to go to a friend’s house.

“He opened up the door and I saw his gun and I said, ‘Buck, why do you need that? What you are you doing?’ He said, ‘I’m scared, I feel like something is going to happen to me,’” she said.

As they were driving, police pulled them over.

“We were surrounded. He had the helicopter and everything. I saw guns come out and then I saw guys in green suits come out. I was like, ‘Babe, what’s going on?’” she said.

Dumais said the friend exited the truck first, as directed by police.

Then, she says Evans told her he loved her, and to go. She did as she was directed. Bullets started flying soon after but Dumais claims Evans wasn’t holding his gun when she got out of the truck.

“He wasn’t holding it at all. It was on the ground,” she said.

“If you’re going to pick up the gun, we get it, it’s fair,” Lepine said. He described Evans’ gun an an SKS, a type of semi-automatic rifle. Lepine was not in the vehicle at the time of the shooting.

“But he was already like this,” Dumais explained, holding her hands up over her head. “All three of us had our hands in the air.” She says Evans never fired at police.

“He didn’t even have a chance. They didn’t even let him out of the vehicle,” Lepine said. “He couldn’t put his hands up, nothing.”

“That’s when I started screaming, “No, no Buck!” Dumais said through tears.

In video of the incident taken by condo residents, officers can be heard telling the suspect: “Show us your hands,” “Walk to me now,” “Step out slowly and put your hands where I can see them,” “Step out of the car now,” and “last chance.”

Police cannot provide details about the investigation since the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) has taken it over.  Their findings won’t be released until the investigation is complete.

In a separate officer-involved shooting in Edmonton from March 2017, ASIRT determined that an officer shooting a suspect was “objectively and subjectively reasonable and necessary” given the “very real risk of death to the officer.”

ASIRT’s mandate is to “effectively, independently and objectively investigate incidents involving Alberta’s police that have resulted in serious injury or death to any person.”

Dumais and her friend left the scene without any injuries. The last time she saw her boyfriend, he was being loaded onto a stretcher, not moving. He was pronounced dead in hospital.

“I want to see him. But I don’t want to see him like that. I want to see him the way I saw Buck every day.”

Lepine said despite making poor choices in life, Evans was always good to him.

“I got to know Buck and I’m not saying what he was about was right, I’m not saying that at all. But as a human being, you could count on him.”

Watch: Police and other emergency crews were on scene at a southeast Edmonton apartment on Dec. 26, 2018. Several residents reported hearing what sounded like gunshots. (Dec. 26) 

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