One man is dead and a police officer wounded following gunfire outside the South Surrey District 5 RCMP office early Saturday.
According to police, officers responded to reports of a “suicidal” man screaming outside of the office – which is located in the 1800-block of 152 Street and shares the building with Semiahmoo Library – at approximately 2:30 a.m. July 18.
“A physical struggle ensued and the male was shot by an officer,” a news release states. “The individual has died. One of the police officers involved was injured as a result of the confrontation and was transported to hospital for treatment.
“The police officer suffered a non-life-threatening gunshot wound, the circumstances of which are under investigation.”
The news release did not indicate the victim’s identity, whether he was armed or who fired the shot that struck the officer. It was later revealed that only police-issued firearms were found at the scene.
At a makeshift memorial site the next day, the deceased was identified to Peace Arch News as 20-year-old South Surrey resident Hudson Brooks.
Surrey RCMP deferred comment to the Independent Investigations Office, which investigates officer-related incidents of death or serious harm and has taken over the case.
Kellie Kirkpatrick, executive director of public accountability for the IIO, said by email just before noon Monday that circumstances – including how many officers were involved and how many shots were fired – were under investigation.
An update posted online Monday evening suggests Brooks may have been unarmed.
“The IIO can confirm that other than police-issued equipment, nothing of significance was recovered from the scene,” the news release states, noting the incident is the sixth officer-involved shooting under investigation by the IIO since April 1.
Social-media posts and tributes at the South Surrey Skate Park indicate the circumstances surrounding Brooks’ death have left many wanting answers.
“…the cop had no right to pull that trigger,” one friend of Brooks writes on Facebook, describing him as “such a good guy.”
Another commenter questioned why three officers weren’t able to subdue Brooks without lethal force.
“Can’t they use Tasers on unarmed people… They did not need to shoot him. He was in distress.”
The victim’s father, Matt Brooks (pictured below), spoke to PAN at the site but declined public comment. The victim’s mother could not be reached.
Witnesses told CTV News they heard a young man screaming for help just before the gunfire.
Late that afternoon, 152 Street between 18 and 19 avenues remained closed to traffic, and police could be seen in the covered parking area of the District 5 office. At least 10 yellow evidence markers could also be seen.
At the South Surrey skate park Monday morning, expletives and angry messages directed at police – including “kid killer” – were scattered across the bowl and other park features.
Kirkpatrick said she could not estimate how long the investigative process would take, noting the IIO office has “no control” over the time it takes to receive third-party expert reports.
Anyone with information or who witnessed the incident is asked to contact the IIO’s toll-free witness line at 1-855-446-8477.