'It feels like they shot Hudson all over again': Family devastated as charges against Mountie who shot their son stayed
Charges against an RCMP officer in relation to a fatal shooting outside a Surrey detachment have been stayed, the BC Prosecution Service announced Wednesday.
In 2017, Const. Elizabeth Cucheran was charged with aggravated assault and assault with a weapon after a young man was shot and killed two years earlier.
Hudson Brooks, 20, was shot outside the RCMP's Surrey headquarters in the early hours of July 18, 2015, after police responded to reports of a man screaming, the Mounties have said.
“This is a travesty of justice, this is a joke to our system,” cried Jennifer Brooks, Hudson’s mom. “It’s a shock. It really is a shock to hear what happened to my poor boy. To be killed that way. And then just the charges dropped.”
At the time, the RCMP said officers rushed outside and spotted the man, a struggle ensued and he was shot.
But on Wednesday, BCPS released more information about what happened that night, from the preliminary hearing.
According to the documents, an officer radioed saying “I need help now! I need help now!” Cucheran responded to find Brooks had “started to hammer at the driver’s door and window.” The officer who radioed said he felt Brooks wanted to “seriously harm or kill him.”
Cucheran yelled, "stop," the documents go on to say, and eventually Brooks turned his attention on her. He “continued to move towards Const. Cucheran, who was stepping back, firing as she did.”
The documents also say Brooks tackled her and there was an altercation. That’s when the lethal shot was fired. In total she fired 12 shots, nine struck Brooks and one hit her own leg.
They go on to say that multiple eye and expert witnesses changed their testimony “significantly,” and the prosecutions service conducted its own investigation.
That lead them to believe Brooks was suffering from an “excited delirium or cocaine psychosis” which is “characterized by extreme agitation, hyperthermia, hostility, exceptional strength and endurance without apparent fatigue.” Documents confirm drugs and alcohol were in his system.
“Even the use of a taser would not have been very effective on the individual,” said SFU criminology professor Rob Gordon. "It is a condition that results in somebody becoming virtually uncontrollable and incoherent."
Gordon said while it’s controversial, someone experiencing the condition is not going to feel as much pain as others.
"Based on a careful review of new material received and consideration of an additional expert report, the BCPS has determined that the available evidence no longer satisfies the charge assessment standard for the continued prosecution of (Cucheran) for any criminal offence," BCPS said in a news release.
In 2017, the prosecution service said the long delay between the incident and charges being laid was a result of the complexities of the evidence and requirement for further investigation and analysis.
For Brooks’ family though, the decision is a major blow.
“How is this acceptable behaviour, how is this acceptable in this society? It’s not,” said Jennifer Brooks.
“Hudson needed help. He came down this way for help. And what did he get? He got nothing. He got murdered,” said his grandmother, Donna Gauti. “We’ll get our justice, hopefully, in the end when it’s all said and done.”
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Alyse Kotyk