A coroner's inquest will likely be called into the death of Greg Matters.
Regional coroner Donita Kuzma served the Citizen with a seizure order late Friday afternoon to obtain copies of the email correspondence Matters had with an editor and a reporter at the paper in the days leading up to his death.
Kuzma said she will recommend that a formal inquest be held, but it will be up to the chief coroner to make the final call.
Matters, 40, was killed Monday evening after a 30-hour standoff with Prince George RCMP at a Pineview residence. An autopsy was scheduled for Friday in Kamloops. The Independent Investigations Office (IIO) has already began its probe to see if any criminal charges should be filed.
The coroner's inquest can't begin until the IIO report is complete.
In emails to the Citizen in the days leading up to his death Matters had indicated he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of his 15 years of military service. He also expressed both fear of and anger at authorities, including the RCMP.
Kuzma said she hopes the contents of the emails will shine a light on what was going on in Matters' life around the time of his death.
"It tells us what Mr. Matters was dealing with and what he was faced with in the time leading up to his death," she said. "Your correspondence was within a few days of that happening, so it's very important to us in understanding what was going on."
A coroner has the power to file seizure orders, which have the same power as a warrant, but don't require a judge's signature.
A formal inquest would look at all aspects of Matters' life, from his employment history to his medical records, including his battle with PTSD, and what role that may have played in his death.
"His history is very, very interesting and very relevant to what we want to find out," Kuzma said.
An inquest includes a jury that examine evidence the coroner presents. It's a fact-finding process that doesn't lay blame, but instead produces recommendations to ensure similar situations aren't repeated.
The IIO announced Friday that its staff has returned to its office in Surrey after spending three days gathering evidence and interviewing witnesses in Prince George. It's expected it will take the IIO months to complete its probe. Once all the evidence has been analyzed the IIO can recommend charges to the Crown or decide no charges are warranted and release a public report.
The IIO was created this year to be an independent body to investigate police-involved deaths. Its office opened Monday and this is its first case.
The agency was founded to end the practice of having outside police departments brought in to investigate cases like Matters' death. Kuzma said part of the IIO's mandate is to conclude their investigations quicker than under the old system and she hopes that means an inquest can be launched relatively quickly.
"The sooner that there's a public process and the sooner that the public can be informed of what happened, the better," Kuzma said.
If an inquest is called for it will be the first in Prince George since one was launched into the 2008 suicide of Cheryl Ann Bouey in the cells at the RCMP detachment.