A man who stabbed a police officer in the arm was shot to death by the injured officer's partner yesterday.
"Fortunately, the officer was wearing a bullet-proof vest, or the story . . . might have been very, very different," said Vancouver police Const. Anne Drennan.
The drama began about 11:30 p.m. Tuesday.
The two officers were responding to a 911 call to a domestic dispute at a house near the corner of Victoria Drive and 41st Avenue.
A man made the call from the
7-Eleven store on the northeast corner of the intersection.
When the officers pulled up they saw a man sitting quietly at the bus stop outside.
Thinking he could be the man who called 911, one officer got out of the passenger side of the cruiser as the man walked toward him.
"As he moved toward the approaching man, the man suddenly spun around, had a knife in his hand and stabbed at the officer twice," Drennan said.
The officer yelled at the man to drop the knife, she said.
"The man struck [the officer] again, this time in the right forearm, resulting in a four-inch-long [10-centimetre] and very deep wound to the arm. It went right to the bone."
The officer in the driver's seat got out and drew his handgun, yelling at the man to drop the knife.
"Rather than dropping the knife, the man continued to lunge at both the first officer and the second officer," said Drennan.
"The second officer fired one round into the chest of the man and the man dropped.
"This was all done in a split-second. The officer who fired the shot did so in order to protect the life of his partner and his own life -- and did quite probably the only thing that could have been done to save both of those lives at that point, or to insure that no serious injuries occurred [to the officers]."
The man, who was not identified, was pronounced dead at 2 a.m. He is Vancouver's 22nd homicide victim of the year.
Drennan said the homicide squad will conduct "an extremely thorough investigation," and an inquest will be held.
The injured officer was released from hospital with stitches to his arm and both officers are receiving counselling.
The officer who fired the fatal shot has three years' experience. The other graduated from the police academy in April.
Drennan said the shooting did not look like a so-called suicide by police, which typically involves a deranged person asking to be killed.
"There was nothing like that, no preamble at all," said Drennan. "For some unknown reason this man flipped out and attacked our officers with the knife.
"They thought they were stopping to speak to a complainant who called in to a domestic dispute."
Drennan said the situation evolved too fast for a Taser gun, which incapacitates a person with an electrical jolt, to have been used.
"There would have been no opportunity other than to use your sidearm," said Drennan.
"Had they tried to fool around with something like a Taser, it would have been over for them. It just wasn't an option."
Police would not say if it was the victim who had called the police.
The woman who was at the centre of the domestic dispute did not know the man.