EDITORIAL: We need to be informed

Many important questions have stayed unanswered in the immediate aftermath of an officer-involved shooting in South Surrey.

It was a ‘worst-case’ scenario, right from the beginning.

An officer-involved shooting confrontation outside the detachment offices at 152 Street and 18 Avenue in South Surrey left a young man dead and an RCMP officer wounded.

That much we know from the scant information released by the RCMP following the early Saturday morning incident.

We were told that a “suicidal” man was screaming outside of the offices, that a physical struggle ensued and that the man was shot. We were told that an officer had also received a non-life-threatening gunshot wound in the incident.

But it took until Monday to receive confirmation from the RCMP’s Independent Investigations Office – which has taken over investigation of the incident – that only “police-issued equipment” was found at the scene.

An online update posted that evening seems to suggest the young man – who we have since learned was Hudson Brooks, 20 – was unarmed.

No further comment on the circumstances, including how many officers were on the scene and how many shots were fired, has been forthcoming.

We all have reason to mourn the loss of a young life in what appears to be a senseless tragedy. Under any circumstances, a natural response to such loss – particularly for those who knew the deceased – is feelings of anger. But this is where a worst-case scenario gets even worse.

Because the silence of investigators in such cases is almost guaranteed to fuel such anger. Hearing nothing else, residents will be quick to jump to conclusions and listen to rapidly spreading rumour. Some of the anger, justly or unjustly, will end up being directed at the police – as we can see from comments already posted to the article on the Peace Arch News website.

We all understand police caution about making premature statements regarding ongoing investigations. Ill-advised comment cannot only be wrong, it can compromise investigations and can be the basis of lawsuits and legal appeals.

Yet it appears, from observing similar incidents in other jurisdictions, that the public are far more likely to receive cogent news releases elsewhere than in our own backyard.

When the IIO notes that the incident is the sixth officer-involved shooting under investigation since April 1, it seems clear that they understand the public has concerns about the proliferation of such incidents.

But there is a big difference between understanding and acting to ease them through quick and effective public relations.

Just Posted

Jack and Arleen Mar celebrated their wedding 60 years ago. (Contributed photo)
White Rock couple celebrates 60 years of marriage

‘Listen to your wife,’ Jack Mar offered as advice to newlyweds

A cache of 89 crabs was discovered during a 2018 compliance inspection at South Surrey’s Elgin Park Marina. (Contributed photo)
$7,500 fine for illegal crab harvest discovered in South Surrey

Laird Goddyn found guilty in Surrey Provincial Court following 2018 investigation

South Surrey’s Meridian Golf Course – a 15-acre property that also includes a residence – has been sold. (Colliers Canada photo)
South Surrey’s Meridian Golf Course sold to new owners

Deal for popular par 3 course expected to close by end of the year

Gerry Vowles (left), Michael Cook, and Dave Sinclair were awarded “Dominion Command Presidential Citations” June 17 in Cloverdale. The rare awards were given out for “exemplary service to the Legion.” (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Three B.C. legionnaires awarded ‘Presidential Citations’

Ceremony took place in Cloverdale June 17

Kaushal Parikh raised $2,840 for COVID-19 relief in India during his almost nine-hour run around the new North Delta Secondary School track on Sunday, June 13, 2021. (Submitted photo)
North Delta ultramarathoner raises over $2,800 for COVID relief in India

Kaushal Parikh ran the 90-km virtual Comrades Marathon around the NDSS track in under nine hours

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Helen Austin performing with Trent Freeman at the 2018 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Austin is one of the many performers listed for the 2021 event.
Vancouver Island MusicFest goes virtual for 2021

Black Press to stream 25 hours of programming July 9-11

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
BC Green leader Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

Most Read