It's not the first time the actions of the RCMP's northern B.C. emergency response teams have been the subject of a coroners' inquest.
In fact, three members on the witness list for the ongoing inquest into the Sept. 10, 2012 death of Greg Matters - Cpl. Ryan Arnold, Cpl. Collin Warwick and Cst. Brian Merriman - also testified a bit more than two years ago at an inquest into the September 2009 death of Valeri George, 41, near Fort St. John.
And shortly after that inquest wrapped up, Warwick also testified at the inquest for Rodney Shayne Jackson, 25, who was also killed in September 2009, near New Hazelton.
The Matters inquest is now on hold until late January following nine days of hearings, with three ERT members still to be heard and one still to complete his testimony.
Both the George and Jackson deaths were ruled homicides according to verdicts posted on the B.C. Coroners Service website. The documents also provide details surrounding the deaths and the juries' subsequent recommendations.
George was described as a "hard-working husband and a loving father of 12," who became depressed after going through some difficult circumstances and began acting "out of character."
On Sept. 26, 2009, George borrowed a .22 calibre rifle and, with family members still in the vehicle, he shot out the tires of a van. He then drove out to the family's home in Buick, about 75 kilometres north of Fort St. John, while his wife and children stayed in town.
Roughly four days later, on Sept. 30, 2009 the RCMP's North District ERT, based in Prince George, had set up a line of fire along the driveway into the home and established a blockade across it. Communication with George was hampered by his inability to understand English, as well as a refusal to talk to police.
In the early afternoon he drove his van down the driveway at a high rate of speed and an ERT member fired a shot through the windshield that struck George who got out with the .22. The ERT then fired 46 more shots, four of them striking George who fell dead in the driveway.
Four days before George's death, Warwick, a dog handler, was on the scene at Kisgegas, a fishing village 60 kilometres north of New Hazelton.
Jackson was wanted on five outstanding charges and, on Sept. 23, 2009, the Hazelton RCMP asked that the RCMP's North Coast ERT, based in Terrace, help them out. Two days later, an ERT tactical plan was developed, however both the team's leader and backup leader were not available and the plan was developed by a regular member and signed off by an incident commander who had no ERT training.
In the early morning of Sept. 26, 2009, they converged on a cabin where Jackson was staying. But as they drew closer, Jackson's two dogs started barking and one approached an ERT member's hiding spot.
Jackson came out, rifle in hand, and walked towards the spot. Jackson did not comply when ordered to drop the rifle and an ERT member shot Jackson several times. Warwick was not the shooter.
The George inquest was held Aug. 29-Sept.2, 2011 in Fort St. John and the Jackson inquest followed on Sept. 12-16, 2011 in Terrace.
The jury for the George inquest made 10 recommendations, eight of them towards the RCMP. They included more regular and detailed training after hearing of difficulties because members are scattered across the region. And in response to a senior officer, they recommended providing the ERT with an armoured vehicle. Although it was not in place for the Matters incident, the team now has one, that inquest has heard.
The jury into the Jackson inquest issued 13 recommendations, eight towards the RCMP. They included making sure incident commanders be trained in ERT tactics and each ERT member be trained in leadership skills.
At the Matters inquest last week, the jury heard Prince George RCMP Supt. Eric Stubbs was the incident commander in that case after taking the training in 2010. A formal plan was in the process of being drafted for dealing with Matters but never signed off after the ERT moved in on the belief he was about to give himself up.
Instead, Matters was shot dead after pulling out a hatchet from inside his sweater and turning towards an ERT member who had tried unsuccessfully to Taser him.