Retired supreme court judge will oversee Newfoundland police shooting probe

A retired provincial Supreme Court judge will report on the investigation into the shooting death of a man by the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary.

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — A retired provincial Supreme Court judge will report on the investigation into the shooting death of a man by the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary.

The RCMP is leading the investigation and says David Riche will have full access to all details for a report on its independence and thoroughness.

Don Dunphy was shot dead Sunday by an officer investigating perceived threats against provincial politicians on Twitter.

Riche was appointed to the bench in 1982 and retired as a judge in 1999.

Dunphy was killed by a member of the premier’s security team Sunday after he went alone to the 59-year-old man’s home to investigate comments that appeared Friday on his Twitter feed.

Premier Paul Davis has said his staff alerted police about the posts out of concern they could be taken as a threat to his family members and those of a cabinet minister.

Davis said he was unaware of the online comments until after Dunphy was killed.

Grieving family members asked Wednesday for privacy as they wait for more details from police.

“Our hearts are broken as a result of the tragic and untimely death of our father and brother,” says a statement released through a St. John’s law firm.

The plainclothes officer with the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary has not been named as the RCMP investigate the shooting in Mitchells Brook, about 80 kilometres southwest of St. John’s.

RCMP Sgt. Greg Hicks said Tuesday the officer reported he was invited in, but the mood changed after about 15 minutes and Dunphy aimed a rifle at him.

The Mounties say a loaded .22-calibre rifle was found beside Dunphy’s body and will be examined at a forensics lab.

A spokesman for the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary said its members are not equipped with vehicle or body cameras.

Hicks said an autopsy was done Tuesday but results have not been released.

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