Afolabi Stephen Opaso: 19-year-old Nigerian Student in Canada Shot and Killed by Police

Afolabi Stephen Opaso, a 19-year-old Nigerian student in Canada was shot and killed after confronting police holding two knives.

The family of a 19-year-old are searching for answers about what happened to their loved one, who they say was experiencing a mental health crisis at the time of the incident.

Afolabi Stephen Opaso was an international student originally from Nigeria who studied at the University of Manitoba, says a lawyer who is in contact with and is assisting the family.

“That’s just the first thing, was [the] shot necessary?” said Jean-René Dominique Kwilu. “Because if the issue was to unarm the person, was the shot necessary?”

Police responded to a report of a possibly armed man acting erratically at an apartment building at 77 University Cres. at about 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

Officers encountered a man armed with two knives when they arrived and shot him, Winnipeg police Chief Danny Smyth told reporters during a Monday news conference.

Opaso was taken to hospital in critical condition and died from his injuries.

Kwilu said it’s unclear right now what caused police to shoot Opaso.

“At this point, [what’s] shocking is just to arrive at … that deadly gunshot,” he said.

Winnipeg police also didn’t say on Monday if Opaso had attacked police.

Smyth said police do not know much about the man who died.

“I think we had one other encounter with him, sometime last July, where we assisted him by providing him with a ride,” he said. “He has no other record with us, and certainly no criminal record. We think he may have been a student at the [University of Manitoba].”

The Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba has been notified and taken over the investigation.

“As soon as there’s a death involved, we kind of put the brakes on investigating it,” the police chief said. “It’s not our jurisdiction.”

The man was inside of a suite in the apartment with a 19-year-old woman and man, 21, Smyth said, adding the three appeared to know each other — although it’s not clear whether the man who died was a resident or visitor at the apartment.

The other two people in the suite are safe and now considered witnesses, he said.

The call to police was made by someone in the suite, but police do not believe it was a hostage situation, Smyth said: “I don’t get that sense from the original information, but the caller was quite concerned.”

Source: CBC

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