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Our leaders haven’t reached out to me: mother

Community rallies seven months after man shot dead outside South Surrey police station.

Seven months after the shooting death of her son outside the South Surrey RCMP office, Jennifer Brooks says it’s time to put pressure for answers on local politicians.

“Where are our leaders?” Brooks said Monday, the morning after leading a march in memory of her son, Hudson.

Brooks said she has heard nothing from Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner or Surrey-White Rock MLA Gordon Hogg in the months since Hudson, 20, was killed.

“Our son was shot down in the streets of Surrey – they haven’t reached out to me.

“Where is the compassion? A young man loses his life and we’re not contacted.”

Hudson was fatally shot by police last July 18, in an early morning altercation outside the district police office; an officer was also wounded. No specifics of what transpired have been publicly disclosed, though officials with the Independent Investigation Office – which investigates police-involved incidents that result in serious injury or death – confirmed shortly after the shooting that only police-issue weapons were found at the scene.

Monday, Hepner declined to comment on the matter to Peace Arch News, citing the ongoing IIO investigation; Hogg’s office responded that he is out of the country until Friday.

IIO spokesman Marten Youssef said by email that his office still awaits “third-party” reports.

“However, our investigation is fully underway to ensure that when these reports come back to us, we can proceed to the next stage without delay,” he writes.

Youssef did not have a timeline for when the reports would be complete, but said that once they arrive, the chief civilian director of the IIO will review the investigation.

“If the CCD concludes that an officer MAY have committed an offence, he will file a report to Crown counsel.”

Youssef noted the IIO does not make or recommend charges; that is up to the Crown. If it’s determined no offence was committed, the IIO report, including reasoning, will be posted online, he said.

Jennifer and Beau BrooksBrooks told PAN it is “devastating” to not have any answers yet, and pledged to continue pushing until that changes.

“We won’t stop,” she said.

Sunday’s march was the second organized by Hudson’s family and friends to keep his death at the forefront of people’s minds and continue the push for answers.

Brooks estimated nearly 200 people turned out – more than seen at an October march, on the three-month anniversary of Hudson’s death – and described the event as “so powerful and so inspiring.”

“It’s wonderful… to see how loved Hudson was,” she said.

“He was such a beautiful boy with a beautiful life ahead of him, and now he doesn’t have it. It’s so unfair.”

March participants, who also included Hudson’s dad and siblings, walked north from 17 Avenue to 24th and back, carrying ‘Justice for Hudson’ placards and chanting their call for justice along the way. The march ended at the South Surrey district police office, where Brooks addressed the crowd.

“Hudson did not deserve this, Hudson did not deserve to die,” she said.

“We’re here to say that Hudson Brooks’ life mattered.”

Brooks told PAN the next event will be held on Hudson’s birthday, March 30, and is to include a balloon and lantern release at the beach. After that, she said, another, bigger march will take place on Sunday, July 17 – one day before the one-year anniversary. That event will head south into White Rock, she said.

“We’re going to take the street that day,” she said.

Brooks said she is “so grateful” for the community’s support in the months since Hudson was killed. She also reiterated her belief that despite what happened to Hudson, she knows “there’s amazing police officers out there.”

“They sure were not there that night with my son.”