Mountie reprimanded for response to double murder
A B.C. police officer who didn't fully investigate reports of gunshots fired while a woman lay dying in her home for days has been punished with just one day's docked pay.
In September 2008, Mission RCMP Const. Mike White responded to a call of six shots fired, but never got out of his car to search the neighbourhood and left the scene after 13 minutes to attend another call.
But across the street from the 911-caller's house, 37-year-old Lisa Dudley and her 33-year-old boyfriend Guthrie McKay were lying fatally wounded in a rural home.
When police were called to the house again four days later, McKay was dead and Dudley was justn barely alive. She died while being transferred to a helicopter.
White, who was later promoted to corporal, faced a disciplinary hearing on Friday. The board found him guilty of grave misconduct, because he did not conduct a comprehensive investigation, do a foot patrol or knock on the door.
White lost a day of pay for the offence and received a written reprimand.
Dudley's family was horrified by the punishment.
"This is all she was worth -- one day's pay. One day's pay -- how cheap are we?" her mother Rosemarie Surakka asked CTV News.
"That was Lisa's lifeline, that 911 call, and he just ignored it."
Before White went to the scene of the shooting, he laughed about the call in a radio conversation with a 911 dispatcher, according to a transcript.
"He didn't have to do anything except speak to the caller. If he had spoken to the caller, they would have said, ‘That house right there, that's where the shots came from,'" Surakka said.
Lisa's stepfather Mark Surakka said he was also hoping for a more severe penalty.
"I'm not being vindictive or anything, but I think the gravity of what transpired perhaps should have elicited a more stringent ruling," he said.
The case has forced Mounties to change their policy on responding to certain calls.
"From this point on, any shots-fired complaints have to be investigated in a much more thorough manner, which includes direct contact between the investigating officer who goes to scene and the person who heard the shots fired," RCMP Insp. Tim Shields said.
A coroner's inquest has been ordered into the deaths of McKay and Dudley, and Dudley's family is calling for a full public inquiry.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Jina You