Skip to main content

B.C. coroner's inquest to hear details of Surrey standoff that left suspect, hostage dead

Nona McEwan and Randy Crosson have been identified as the people killed following a hostage situation in Surrey. Nona McEwan and Randy Crosson have been identified as the people killed following a hostage situation in Surrey.

The British Columbia government will hold a coroner's inquest next month to determine how a 2019 hostage situation in Surrey ended with both the hostage and the hostage-taker dying in a hail of police bullets.

Nona McEwan, 45, and Randy Crosson, 48, were killed when a 10-hour standoff with police at a home in the Central City area ended after six members of an RCMP emergency response team entered the home and fired their weapons 42 times, according to an April 2020 report from the Independent Investigations Office of B.C.

The deaths on March 29, 2019, were reported to the B.C. Coroners Service, which announced Tuesday that an inquest would begin on April 15 to examine what led to the fatal incident and what changes, if any, can be made to prevent similar situations from occurring.

The 2020 report from the IIO, which relied on video and audio recordings, as well as statements from civilian witnesses, paramedics and more than three dozen police officers, found no grounds for charges against the officers involved.

The police oversight agency's investigation also incorporated bloodstain analysis, ballistic evidence and toxicology reports, as well as a recording of a 911 call – all of which informed a narrative about what happened inside and outside the Surrey home during the altercation.

Standoff begins with 911 call

According to Ronald MacDonald, the IIO's chief civilian director, the first 911 call came was made at 10 p.m. on March 28, 2019, reporting that an armed man was refusing to leave the home of his long-term partner.

The two parties were later identified by friends as McEwan and Crosson.

Neighbours told police at the scene they had heard what sounded like a gunshot and a woman's scream.

The IIO report details how police worked to get a warrant to enter the home while negotiators were unsuccessful in communicating with the people inside.

The emergency response team was called in after midnight, and the situation was deemed a hostage scenario.

Overnight, a bear banger noisemaking device was hurled at officers near the back of the home, while offices out front told the IIO they saw what appeared to be a pistol pointing out a window at a police armoured vehicle.

A police robot was deployed to deliver a cellphone into the home but the calls were never answered, according to the police watchdog's report.

Man used woman as shield

With a warrant to enter the home secured around 6 a.m., a team of six officers entered the home, with the first officer later telling IIO investigators he saw the man holding the woman on top of him as a shield with a knife to her throat and what was believed to be a pistol in his other hand.

Another officer on the team said he saw an opportunity to shoot the man, without hitting the woman, and took it. The officer told the IIO his bullet hit the man in the side, however the wounded man did not drop the knife.

The officer got close enough to "press the muzzle of his gun into (the man's) side, and fired several more times," he told investigators.

His fellow officers opened fire at the same time with the gunshots lasting approximately nine seconds in which both the man and woman were struck.

The man was pronounced dead while the woman was rushed to hospital with a gunshot wound in her arm and one in her abdomen that ultimately proved fatal, according to the IIO report.

Following the shooting, forensic officers found what the IIO report described as a "realistic-looking replica pistol" and a large knife next to where the man was killed.

A bear-banger firing device was also located and was determined to have been modified to function as a weapon, according to the report.

Inquest coroner Margaret Janzen will lead the death investigation at the Burnaby Coroner's Court, where a jury will hear evidence from witnesses under oath to determine the facts of the case.

While the jury will have the opportunity to make recommendations aimed at preventing deaths under similar circumstances, the jury cannot make any findings of legal responsibility.

With files from CTV News's Kendra Mangione Top Stories

Stay Connected