Const. Christopher Troughton was the first to show up on the scene after a woman reported that her ex-boyfriend had thrown a rock through a window in her home.
The Abbotsford Police officer came across the suspect on South Fraser Way and immediately recognized him as someone who had a violent history and a mental illness.
The man was carrying a long pole and he began swinging it, hitting Troughton’s unmarked police car several times.
Troughton pointed his gun at the suspect and warned him several times to drop the weapon, but the man screamed at the officer to shoot him and came towards him, swinging the pole at head level.
At one point, Troughton fell backwards but rolled to a standing position, just as the suspect swung and released the pole at his head.
The man then surrendered and was arrested without further incident.
Troughton was presented at Tuesday’s police board meeting with the Chief Constable’s Commendation, honouring his “skill, judgment and bravery” while his own safety was at risk during the incident on May 6, 2012.
Chief Bob Rich said in 50 per cent of the cases involving a shooting by police, the suspect has a mental illness. He said Troughton is to be commended for “keeping everyone safe” while dealing with such a difficult situation.
He moved into position to ensure no civilians were behind the suspect and, even when he fell, he ensured his fingers were appropriately placed on the gun to avoid an accidental discharge, Rich said.
Troughton described the circumstances as “surreal.”
“It was due to the training that the department provides that it ended successfully for everyone,” he said.