B.C.’s civilian police watchdog says both people who died in a hostage situation in Surrey five weeks ago appear to have been shot by police.
On Thursday, March 28, Surrey RCMP were called to a home in a cul-de-sac near 133 Street, where officers engaged in an overnight standoff with a man and a woman.
The Lower Mainland Emergency Response Team (ERT) entered the home around 7:30 a.m. the following morning and “a confrontation with the barricaded male ensued” according to police, which ended with an exchange of gunfire.
The man inside the home died at the scene, while the woman, identified by family and friends as Nona McEwan, was taken to hospital where she later died.
McEwan’s sons were on scene since the incident began on the evening of the 28th, and told Global News she was being held hostage by her partner.
Global News has identified the man who was allegedly holding McEwan hostage as Randy Crosson.
WATCH: Video shows ERT take down at scene of Surrey hostage taking
The Independent Investigations Office (IIO) says it has been dealing with a “significant” workload on the case, which has involved conducting more than 40 interviews.
“The evidence gathered to date demonstrates that the male and the female both succumbed to injuries caused by shots fired from police,” said the agency in a media release.
“The IIO’s investigation continues into all aspects of this matter, with the goal to determine whether police actions were lawful, proportionate and reasonable, or if any offence may have been committed.”
At the time of the shooting, investigators had said it was not clear how McEwan had died.
A crowdfunding campaign has been set up for McEwan’s family.
McEwan’s brother-in-law Nic Chutskoff said Thursday the family is facing eviction from the home by Surrey bylaw officers, who are telling them to be out by Monday.
They’re asking for an extension in order to retrieve their belongings.
“We just need one week,” Chutskoff said. “The kids haven’t even been able to pick through their parents’ stuff.”
WATCH: IIO announce two people killed in North Surrey hostage situation
Fighting back tears, Chutskoff said the news McEwan died from shots fired by police was “not surprising.”
“I’m angry,” he said. “We knew, as soon as the IIO was called in and they weren’t saying anything to us, that there was some kind of mishap.”
He also said police should have listened to McEwan’s sons and ex-husband on scene, who told officers they could enter and that Crosson was intending to keep McEwan hostage.
McEwan’s ex-husband Shawn Stubling said he wants to see “accountability” from police as a result of the investigation.
“They need to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again,” he said.
“It seems to me like a pretty big mistake. A huge mistake. That’s the mother of my kids. And [McEwan and Crosson’s daughter] has no parents now.”
—With files from Sean Boynton and Sarah MacDonald