Refugee Deu Raj Puri, shot and killed by two Lethbridge Police officers

The Lethbridge Herald and Calgary Herald are reporting that the recent killing of Deu Raj Puri by Lethbridge Police has left the Bhutanese community shocked and asking for an explanation.

Before arriving in Lethbridge less than a year ago, Deu Raj Puri grew up in refugee camps. In Lethbridge he worked on a canola farm and attended English as a second language courses. Abi Adhikari, a fellow Bhutanese immigrant who knew him said that Puri had developed depression and alcoholism as a result of his traumatic life experiences.

On the night of Puri’s death, his family called the police to prevent him from committing suicide. Friends say Puri had cut himself with a knife and was threatening to kill himself. When the police arrived, Puri was shot by two officers. A knife was found at the scene, but the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team has still not identified whether or not Puri was holding the knife when he was killed.

The President of the Canadian Bhutanese Society, Hemlal Timsina, told the Calgary Herald that he is concerned about how this will affect future interactions with the police.

“They are angry, unhappy, sad. One thing is for sure, if anything happens in the house, fights or anything happens, they say they are not going to call the police because they are scared now.”

Timsina also had a number of questions for the police including:

[W]hy the shots were fired when Puri was hurting himself, why the victim was not offered treatment after previous similar incidents and arrests, what efforts were made to bridge the communication gap and what steps police will take to reassure members of the Bhutanese community.


3 Comments on "Refugee Deu Raj Puri, shot and killed by two Lethbridge Police officers"

  1. Sad, very sad. The police should have known Better than to shoot a refugee….especially with limited English communication.
    The LPS needs more colored and educated employees working there!!!!!!!!!

  2. Anonymous | 05/09/2012 at 12:28 pm |

    Extremely irresponsible on police side and extremely sad. He didn’t have a gun and wasn’t going to shoot anyone. Is this the way immigrants with limited English and traumatic experiences are to be treated.
    If there is a domestic situation then why not handle it carefully and talk the person out of it instead to turn to gun just because you are an authority and have a right to carry it. Definitely need more cultually diverse, culturally sensitive, understanding and bilingual police force.

  3. We task Police with our protection and the enforcement of the laws of the land, but in doing so they must also be given the right to protect themselves and each other. The officers were dealing with a very unstable individual, a danger to himself and to others. Yes, it’s very unfortunate this man had a difficult life and was unable to soothe himself with the potential of a life in Canada, but this is no reason to crucify the Police for performing one of the most difficult jobs period.
    And BTW, I don’t need to speak Bhutanese to know what your saying when weilding a blood-saoked knife.

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