The police officer who fatally shot Hudson Brooks in South Surrey in July 2015 shared her version of events publicly for the first time Tuesday (March 2), in giving evidence at a coroner’s inquest into the incident.
At times emotional, Const. Elizabeth Cucheran described the experience that ended in her firing multiple shots into the 20-year-old as “absolutely terrifying.”
Cucheran, an officer since 2008, said she was among those on duty at the South Surrey RCMP detachment, in the 1800-block of 152 Street, in the early morning hours of July 18, 2015 when police received a report of a male walking down the street yelling “kill me.”
Soon after, another officer on duty – Sgt. Stuart Gray, who was a corporal at the time – issued a call for help. Cucheran said she and another officer ran outside, where she saw Brooks at the driver-side of Gray’s SUV, “pounding and wailing on the window and screaming – just screaming – ‘Kill you, kill you, kill me,’” she said.
She said her plan was to distract the male and that she was trying to determine how to “take him peacefully.”
“The moment that Mr. Brooks was aware of my presence… he launched himself at me,” she said, describing the 20-year-old at that point as “so fixated on me.”
Cucheran said she believed Brooks was going to kill her, and said that when she shot him, “he didn’t react.”
CCTV footage of the altercation captured by a parkade security camera and played at the inquest shows Cucheran and another female officer responding to the call. They run around a corner, then Cucheran reappears, “trying to move backwards with my gun,” away from an approaching, non-uniformed individual.
“Eventually, I realized (Brooks) was actually yelling at me, ‘kill me, kill me, kill me,’” she told the inquest.
Cucheran ultimately falls backwards over a short wall at the north side of the parkade; the non-uniformed individual lands on top of her.
At least two other officers can also be seen in the grainy footage.
Cucheran said her fear increased when Brooks didn’t react to being shot in the shoulder – “this is not what was supposed to happen,” she said. She said she remembers wondering why it had “no effect.”
The inquest is scheduled for four days. Upcoming witnesses are to include first responders, a pathologist and a use-of-force expert.
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