BRITISH COLUMBIA

Jamison Childress Shot, Killed Near B.C. Border By U.S. Patrol Agent

03/20/2015 04:27 EDT | Updated 05/20/2015 05:59 EDT
SUMAS, Wash. - Authorities in both Canada and the U.S. aren't confirming that a 20-year-old man fatally shot by a U.S. Border Patrol agent on Thursday is a Canadian.

Whatcom County medical examiner Gary Goldfogel says Jamison Childress is the man who died of a single gunshot wound to the head near the Sumas, Washington, crossing.

A man by the same name has faced several charges in the B.C. communities of Fraser Lake and Prince George, including theft and mischief under $5000 and assault.

Vanderhoof lawyer Michael Reed says he has represented a Jamison Childress several times and he is about 20 years old and from B.C.

Earlier Friday, American officials said Childress was wanted for murder in another jurisdiction but they did not say where.

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection statement said an agent shot the man after he displayed erratic and threatening behaviour and sprayed the agent with an unknown chemical.

The Bellingham Herald reported Childress was from B.C., but Goldfogel said he could not confirm that, saying he had heard a conflicting report that he was from Alberta.

It is not yet clear which jurisdiction issued a warrant for Childress's arrest. Alberta RCMP Const. Jason Curtis said Friday he was not aware of a murder warrant issued out of the province.

Lawyer Fred Fatt confirmed his client named Jamison Childress was set to appear in Prince George court Friday morning for a trial, but he did not appear.

Prince George RCMP Cpl. Craig Douglass could not confirm that the Childress with a criminal record in B.C. was the same man who was killed in the U.S. He said the man had not been accused of a murder in Prince George.

Reed, Childress's long-time lawyer, said the report of a murder charge came as a surprise to him.

"Any time I talked to him he presented as a polite young man. He was always very calm and well-spoken," said Reed, adding he was in "disbelief" about the shooting.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection statement issued earlier Friday said border patrol agents responded when a sensor along the border was activated at around 2:30 p.m.

In the statement, Blaine chief patrol agent Dan Harris Jr. said after the man sprayed the agent with the unidentified chemical, the agent opened fire and killed him. The agent was then transported for medical treatment.

Investigators said they found a hatchet inside a backpack that the man was carrying.

The shooting took place on Kneuman Road, which is west of Sumas and about 300 metres from the U.S.-Canada border. The small, rural border crossing at Sumas is about 80 kilometres southeast of Vancouver.

The Canada Border Services Agency said it was not involved in the situation.

Several federal and local U.S. agencies are investigating. The Department of Homeland Security Inspector General and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Internal Affairs are leading the probe.

Harris Jr. said the agents involved in the shooting are currently on administrative leave, as is standard policy. The agents have served between 10 and 19 years.

"A shooting is a very traumatic event for any law enforcement officer," he says. "Taking another human's life is the last thing that we want to do. Our agents are dealing with the emotional aftermath of such an event."

With files from Associated Press

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