Investigators called out after intruder falls from third-floor condo balcony

Editor's note: This story has been updated since first posting as new information became available.

B.C.’s Independent Investigations Office has been called in to investigate after an intruder who reportedly burst into a Lynn Valley condo building Thursday night jumped or fell from a third-floor balcony.

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The drama happened around 8 p.m. at the Treelynn condo complex on Fromme Road near 27th Street in North Vancouver.

One woman who lives in the building told the North Shore News the man catapulted over a high fence to enter the building through her friend’s first-floor patio door. “He flew through her suite,” she said, adding the man appeared to be “on something” or not in a normal state of mind.

The man ran out of the apartment through the front door, and up the stairs, eventually ending up on the third floor of the building.

Pat DeCoursey and her daughter had just got home when they began hearing sounds in the hallway.

DeCoursey said she opened her door and went to investigate, fearing one of her neighbours might be in trouble.

That’s when a stranger came running down the hallway and into her apartment.

“It was difficult to process at first,” said DeCoursey.

“He was terrified,” she said, adding the man appeared to believe someone was after him and was looking for a place to hide.

The intruder asked DeCoursey to phone 911, she said, so she picked up the phone. But while she was on the call, the intruder went into her kitchen and picked up a knife. DeCoursey said she yelled at the man to “drop that knife” and he did.

The man didn’t appear to be threatening to hurt them, said DeCoursey. She said the intruder went over to their glassed-in balcony and appeared to be looking around. That’s when the two women decided to leave.

When police arrived, they had to break down the door of DeCoursey’s apartment which the stranger had locked behind them.

DeCoursey said she didn’t see first-hand what happened next, but other neighbours said the man broke a window of the balcony and appeared to be either trying to climb up to the roof or down to the ground when he either fell or jumped to the ground.

Some neighbours reported the man appeared to be holding a knife at that point, and appeared to have a lot of blood on him.

Blood was left on the balcony floor, and on the window next to the one that was smashed, along with a bloody footprint on a narrow ledge outside the balcony, said DeCoursey.

The RCMP said in a statement that when they arrived at the condo complex, police officers observed a man, who matched the description of the intruder, hanging from a window of a third-floor apartment. “The man dropped to the ground and was arrested without incident,” according to police.

One neighbour said the man appeared to be in “bad condition” after he fell.

The man, who is in his 40s, was taken to hospital with serious injuries.

The day after the incident, B.C.’s Independent Investigations Office stepped in, and will determine whether police actions or inactions are linked to the man’s injuries.

“We want to determine whether any actions of the police contributed to this man coming off that balcony. Or whether the decision to do that was his own,” said Ron MacDonald, chief civilian director of the Independent Investigations Office.

MacDonald the investigation will also look into what role, if any, mental illness or drugs may have played in the incident.

Those issues “are prime questions we have in this case and in others like this,” he said.

The independent investigations office oversees cases where police have been involved in an incident that results in either death or serious injury.

“When he fell the three storeys to the patio below he suffered several fractures that clearly met the definition of serious harm,” said MacDonald.

Decoursey said she’s grateful that she and her daughter weren’t hurt, as well as for the fast response of police and support of her neighbours.

The IIO is expected to issue a public statement on their findings when the investigation is complete.

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