Katie Gartley was taking an Uber home from work Tuesday (May 24) when she saw something completely unexpected.
A Surrey police officer shot a woman several times on a busy Surrey street just after noon that day – and it happened right in front of her.
“When we saw the officer with gun drawn, yelling. I guess, the woman, she was kind of swinging her arms around and she had an object in her left hand, I think. I don’t know what it was, it didn’t look like a gun to me, but I couldn’t see,” Gartley explained to the Now-Leader.
“We had pulled up a little bit further and he started to shoot, so I turned and I saw the last two shots go off and saw the woman obviously get hit by them. She was just standing for a few seconds.
“Then we were like, maybe she didn’t get hit by it – and then she fell down.”
BC RCMP say officers were called to the 10500-block of King George Boulevard “for a report of a woman with a weapon.” Police say officers found the woman in the 10400-block of King George Boulevard “who was reportedly still in possession of the weapon.”
Photos from the scene show the potential weapon on the ground. It appeared to be a machete-type weapon with a black and red handle.
Police say “during an interaction” between the woman and police, she was shot by police.
The woman was taken to hospital with police are calling serious injuries.
B.C.’s police watchdog, the Independent Investigation Office of B.C., is now investigating and has confirmed it’s the Surrey RCMP that’s being investigated.
Gartley said she was “quite shocked” to see it all unfolded.
“I’ve never seen a police officer shoot. I’ve seen a police officer draw their weapon, but I’ve never seen them shoot their weapons,” she said. “I didn’t see the full situation and obviously if he’s in danger, that’s what he needs to do.”
Gartley works in the area and walks that stretch of King George Boulevard every day.
“Obviously, I’m still feeling a bit nervous about needing to get out tomorrow and walk down that street again, but I guess not as nervous because it was the police that had to use their weapons,” she said. “It wasn’t someone else using something else against them. I’m not too nervous about being in the neighbourhood because, obviously, I see stuff every day.”
But, Gartley said, she really wishes she had seen the full situation.
“From my perspective, it didn’t look like — unless (the woman) had a gun, obviously — but it just didn’t look like it was needed. It just seemed so abrupt.”
Meantime, Surrey RCMP Cpl. Vanessa Munn said being witness to a shooting can be traumatizing.
“If they were witness to an event that we were dealing with, we do have our own victims’ services available and our victims’ service also will — or can — make external referrals to other community agencies,” she said.
“If you reach out to Surrey RCMP Victims Services, they do have all the different referrals and they are aware of al the different resources within our community.”
Victims Services can be reached at 604-599-7600.