By Cheryl Chan, The Province
SURREY — Seven months after Hudson Brooks was shot and killed by police, the whys still keep his family up at night.
In the early morning on July 18, the 20-year-old was shot to death in a police-involved shooting outside the RCMP community policing detachment on 152nd Street in south Surrey.
Police say the call had come in about a suicidal man, screaming and in distress.
But by his family’s account, Brooks was happy, in good spirits, with a bright future. They say he wasn’t suicidal, and he wasn’t one to get into trouble with cops.
“I don’t know why my unarmed son was shot multiple times,” said mom Jennifer Brooks. “Why was lethal force used on Hudson? Why was he shot five to seven times?
“The silence is killing me. I have no answers. It’s devastating.”
An officer sustained a non-life-threatening gunshot wound from the incident and was released from hospital the next day. Police only found one weapon from the scene, a police-issued firearm.
As the Independent Investigations Office struggle to work through a backlog of cases, Brooks’ family and friends continue to rally for answers.
On Sunday, about 100 people marched several blocks along 152nd Street demanding justice for Hudson. The march ended beside the RCMP detachment and Semiahmoo public library, where a memorial has been set up with candles, photos, flowers, and other mementos.
“Hudson was a wonderful human being and for him not to be here because he had a bad night is unacceptable,” an emotional Jennifer told supporters. “He wasn’t even wearing his shirt. He did not have a weapon.”
She thanked the police officers who escorted the march, noting “there are a lot of good police officers out there. But they weren’t there that night.”
The death has been very hard on his family, said Brooks’ brother Beaudry, and the fact it was a police-involved shooting was like rubbing salt on a raw wound.
“You want to have faith,” said Beaudry, 22. “Police are here to protect the people, but that night, they did not.”
Family and supporters called for more training for officers in order to prevent similar incidents in the future.
“Too many don’t have proper training and aren’t ready for the position they are in,” said Beaudry. “It leads to things like this. It shouldn’t have happened.”
IIO spokesman Marten Youssef said Sunday the investigation into the shooting is ongoing.
“As we are currently waiting for third-party reports, we are moving along with our investigative tasks to ensure an expedient conclusion to this investigation once we receive the third-party reports,” Youssef said in an emailed statement.
“While our investigation is ongoing we continue to provide support to the family and we never lose sight of the impact these incidents have on the family, the officers and the broader community.”
The family plans to continue its campaign to honour Brooks and others who have died in police-involved shootings.
Another march is planned for this summer.
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