Civilian witnesses ‘critical’ to South Surrey shooting-death investigation
As the mother of a young man killed by police last Saturday waited to see her son’s body, those investigating the circumstances surrounding the fatal shooting in South Surrey issued another appeal for help piecing together how Hudson Brooks came to be where he was when he died.
“We are trying to identify any other witnesses who may be able to assist us in understanding how this lad came to be on 152nd early Saturday morning,” Kellie Kilpatrick, spokesperson for the Independent Investigations Office, said by email Thursday.
“Civilian witnesses are critical for us to speak with so that we can understand what led this young man to be in that situation.”
Brooks, 20, died around 2:30 a.m. July 18, after police responded to reports of a “suicidal” man screaming outside of the South Surrey RCMP office, in the 1800-block of 152 Street.
According to police, a struggle ensued and Brooks was shot. An officer was also shot in the altercation, however, investigators have since revealed that only police-issued firearms were found at the scene. The officer’s wound was not life-threatening.
The suggestion that Brooks was suicidal has been a point of contention amongst the young man’s friends and family, who have vehemently disputed the notion.
Kilpatrick told Peace Arch News investigators have not confirmed the detail.
“Right now we know that the call for service (as per the RCMP) was for a distressed man who the caller reported as suicidal – we are not confirming that to be true or not true – as these are early days in the investigation,” she said.
A statement from the IIO earlier this week noted “the actions of the police officer(s) when they received the call for service and when they came into contact with the deceased” is a key focus.
Kilpatrick could not confirm if video from the scene was obtained, but did say IIO investigations often involve the review of multiple video evidence.
Brooks’ mother, Jennifer, told CTV News this week that she has many questions about her son’s death.
“I just want to know why they shot my son,” she said Tuesday at the scene, where a tribute of flowers has grown to include cards, balloons and candles.
She also wants to know why she wasn’t notified of his death until nearly 12 hours after.
Regarding seeing her son’s body, the South Surrey resident said she was told it’s “not presentable.”
Coroner Barb McLintock confirmed Thursday that Brooks’ body had been “locked down” since the incident. The step, she said, is legally required “between the scene and the autopsy”, in cases where a homicide charge is a possibility.
However, noting the autopsy was being done that day, McLintock said she expected the body would be released to Brooks’ family Friday (tomorrow) “at the latest.”
Anyone with information on Hudson Brooks’ actions in the hours leading up to his death is asked to call the IIO witness line at 1-855-446-8477 or Kilpatrick’s office, at 778-988-1041. The line is monitored 24 hours a day.