A GoFundMe campaign with a goal of raising $15,000 for the three orphaned children of Nona McEwan — whom the campaign identifies as the woman killed during the 10-hour hostage taking in Whalley last week – has been set up to cover funeral and counselling expenses.
A man was pronounced dead at the scene Friday morning and a woman died at hospital after the standoff between the man and police ended in gunfire Friday morning.
The Independent Investigations Office of BC (IIO) is investigating what role police played in this tragedy, which saw roughly two dozen police vehicles, as well as an armoured vehicle, surrounded a home at a cul-de-sac near 132A Street and 100A Avenue.
The Surrey-based IIO was set up in September 2012 with the aim of keeping B.C. police officers accountable in incidents involving deaths and serious injuries.
The Surrey RCMP and the IIO have not released the names of the deceased. GoFundMe is a crowdfunding platform set p to raise money for people in need. The particular page – gofundme.com/f/tragic-loss-of-beloved-parents – describes McEwan as a “loving, sweet and kind hearted woman who would give the shirt off her back for you.
The GoFundMe page also identifies her “long time on-again-off-again partner” as Randy Crosson.
The campaign by press time had raised $3,045.
Surrey RCMP Sergeant Chad Greig declined Monday to confirm the names of the deceased. “You’ll have to contact the IIO B.C. on that, they’re the lead investigators on this investigation now,” he said. But Nicola Collins, media and communications liaison for the IIO, also declined to confirm the names. “We don’t feel like there’s anything that can be improved by us giving the names of people,” she told the Now-Leader on Monday. “We will be releasing information about the investigation but names aren’t something that the IIO does normally release unless there’s a need for public safety or anything like that.”
Ron MacDonald, chief civilian director of the IIO, told reporters at the scene Friday that police were called to the house at about 9:30 p.m. Thursday (March 28) on a complaint of a hostage taking “and the presence of a firearm.”
“Eventually they received a warrant to enter the dwelling,” he said, and at about 7:30 a.m., the Emergency Response Team entered. “There was an interaction between the police” and a man in the home, he said. “Shots were fired.”
MacDonald said he can’t say “definitively at this point” if the suspect fired any shots.
“I know there is some information out there to that effect. However, it’s very early in this investigation and I think the benefit to having the scene locked down as it was and us doing our examination of that scene is that we can do an objective analysis of the scene to determine whether or not that in fact occurred.”
— Tom Zytaruk (@tomzytaruk) March 29, 2019
Asked if it was the Surrey RCMP or ERT who fired the shots, MacDonald replied, “I understand at this point it was members of the emergency response team. I do expect that at least many of those were RCMP officers but I’m not certain that they are, we do have many integrated teams out this way.”
MacDonald said investigators aren’t sure if the woman was killed by shots.
“We’re still trying to determine what caused her injuries and what led to her death,” he said. “We do know that police took shots but we don’t know if they’re the ones that caused injuries to the male and we’re still trying to determine that. It’s still very early in this investigation.”
No police officers nor any other members of the public were injured.
Police evacuated a number of people from nearby homes and properties.
— Surrey Now-Leader (@SurreyNowLeader) March 29, 2019
Sherri Lewis, 25, lives nearby and said she heard “at least 15 or 20” gunshots.
“I felt like it was like a movie, basically,” she said. “You expect to see that on a TV show but unfortunately it happens in real life. I just didn’t expect it to happen right here in front of us.”
Another neighbour, who declined to reveal her name, told the Now-Leader that “all night,” every 20 minutes or so, she heard police on the bullhorn saying, “Let the woman go,” and asking if she was still alive.
She said she heard a gunshot at about 7:30 a.m.
Meantime, commenters posted tributes to McEwan on the GoFundMe page.
“Nona was a friend. I’ve known her most of my life,” wrote Laura Herbert. “We went to school together. I’m still trying to understand. Still in shock. My heart hurts for her kids, family and loved ones. Fly high my friend…till we meet again.”
Maria Muller wrote “Nona was a beautiful soul!”
And Cathy Finley had this to share: “Nona was a great woman who touched our lives. I’m so saddened to hear of this ordeal. Nona was honest, kind and tenacious and deserved better in life. My thoughts go out to all her family.”