Police fatally shot hostage during Surrey confrontation, watchdog says
The woman who was killed during a hostage situation in Surrey, B.C. back in March was shot by police, according to the Independent Investigations Office.
The provincial police watchdog said it's still investigating how officers responded to the hostage-taking, which triggered a 10-hour standoff at a home in the Central City area, ending with two people dead.
But after more than a month on the case, the IIO took the unusual step of providing an update before its final report.
“We felt it was very important that the families know the cause of death of, in particular the female, in this matter,” said IIO Civilian Director Ron MacDonald. “We thought they should understand the circumstances behind her death.”
MacDonald told CTV News Vancouver police shot the male hostage taker multiple times and the woman was struck by two police bullets. Her family was informed about the update Wednesday evening.
Friends identified the deceased as Nona McEwan and Randy Crosson, a couple who had been in a long-term relationship and had a teenage daughter. McEwan also had children from a previous relationship.
Her ex-husband still lives at the house where the incident unfolded and was also outside at the time of the shooting.
“When the shots were fired, my son was upset,” said Shawn Stubling. “I calmed him down by saying the police are professionals. They don’t hit hostages. They know what they’re doing. Unfortunately, I was wrong, right?”
Crosson’s brother, Rick, said as word spread about the couple’s death, people assumed Randy had killed Nona.
"Everybody was blaming him and it was hard. It was hard, you know what I mean? Hardly anybody showed up at his funeral because of this,” said Crosson.
The new revelations have left surviving family members wondering what else they don’t know about the case.
"I'm not even sure if she was held against her will because she's the type of person that would sit with him and try and calm him down and try to help him through it,” said Stubling. “That's the kind of person Nona was."
The IIO described the workload on the case as "particularly significant," involving more than 40 interviews with police and civilian witnesses, as well as forensic work.
The hostage situation began the night of March 28, and came to a head the next morning when officers entered the 133 Street home. Authorities believed the suspect inside was armed.
Gunfire rang out from inside the property, and the suspect was pronounced dead at the scene. The woman who was being held hostage was taken away from the home with severe injuries, and later died in hospital.
In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, police said the suspect suffered a "fatal gunshot wound," but did not give any indication of who opened fire or what had happened to the hostage.
They also did not confirm whether a firearm was recovered from the property. MacDonald declined to comment on the matter Thursday as well.
The Independent Investigations Office asked any witnesses who haven't already spoken to its team to call the IIO witness line at 1-855-446-8477.