As friends and family prepared to celebrate the life of Hudson Brooks this week, a woman who described the 20-year-old as “like a grandson to me” confirmed those who knew the South Surrey man continue to struggle with the circumstances of his death.
“We have many questions,” Donna Krieger told Peace Arch News hours before the private service, held Wednesday afternoon at Victory Memorial Funeral Centre.
“Everybody around town… everybody says that it was overkill.”
Brooks died around 2:30 a.m. July 18, after police responded to reports of a “suicidal” male in the parking lot of the South Surrey RCMP building, in the 1800-block of 152 Street. There was a struggle, shots were fired and Brooks did not survive his injuries.
An officer was also shot in the altercation, presumably by a police-issued weapon, however, that wound was not life-threatening and police confirmed this week that the officer has since been released from hospital.
PAN requests for the operational status of officers involved in the incident have gone unanswered.
The Independent Investigations Office – which investigates police-involved incidents of serious harm or death to determine if an officer may have committed an offence – has taken over the file.
An appeal last week for civilian witnesses to help investigators figure out Brooks’ actions in the hours leading up to his death has resulted in “a number of calls,” IIO spokesman Ralph Krenz told PAN by email Thursday.
“We are still inviting more witnesses to come forward – witnesses who were either with him (in) the hours before the incident or were aware of the events leading up to the critical incident.”
Anyone with information is asked to call 1-855-446-8477 or 778-988-1041.
As the days pass, a makeshift memorial to Brooks continues to grow at the shooting site, where mourners are regularly seen lighting candles, laying flowers and propping up “Justice for Hudson” posters and other tributes to Brooks.
The hashtag #justiceforhudson is also gaining traction, and is being added to hoodies that are reportedly being sold to raise money for Brooks’ family. The first batch was anticipated to be delivered today (Friday).
At the request of Brooks’ family, media did not attend Wednesday’s service, which drew an estimated 300 people. Some attendees later commented on the service on social media, describing it as “beautiful” and lauding a slideshow that was included.
Krieger, who last saw Brooks at a dinner the weekend before he died, described him as “the nicest, politest kid.”
“He was one of the ones that would get up and take his plate to the kitchen… give you a hug when it was time to leave,” the South Surrey woman said.
She predicted comments reflecting the anger around his death – many of which were spray-painted at the South Surrey skate park – will continue until the full story is known.
“You’re probably going to see a lot more until some of these questions get answered,” Krieger said. “There’s got to be questions answered.”