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Buick Creek inquest testimony wraps up

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The coroner’s inquest into the death of Buick Creek resident Valeri George continued today with the last of the witnesses testifying.

The jury heard how a friend was fearful of what George was capable of doing.

Lead investigator Sgt. Dave Chauhan testified that Jacob Rempel told him he believed if George was told where his wife and children were, he would have come over and shot all of them.

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George repeatedly told Rempel, one of the few people to communicate with him during the ordeal, that he would not speak to police unless his family was returned to him.

Chauhan maintained that it would have been too dangerous to send anyone on to the property.

However, in a conversation with another RCMP officer, Rempel said he did not beleive Mr. George would shoot at police.

Despite that, there is evidence George may have fired a shot of his own.

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Two RCMP officers testified that they clearly heard a shot that sounded distinctly different from that of an M-16, the rifle the officers were using, after the initial shot fired by Cpl. Ryan Arnold.

When asked, the other officers at the scene testified that they did not remember hearing the shot, but that everything happened so quickly it may have occured without them noticing.

After George was found lying on the ground, Cpl. Brian Merriman picked up his rifle, dropped 6 feet away from him, and gave it to then-Corporal Milo Macdonald.

When Macdonald opened the action of the gun, he found an empty shell casing.

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Cst. Matthew Shaw, who was observing close to George’s house, reported he had observed him cycle the action of the gun when he walked down the driveway earlier.

There was no evidence given that he fired a shot at any other time.

At the end of testimony, Coroner Rodrick Mackenzie gave Mr. George’s family the chance to ask any remaining questions they may have.

The jury will begin deliberation tomorrow morning.

They are expected to clarify the facts relating to Mr. George’s death, as well as make recommendations.

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