The Surrey RCMP officer who fatally shot 20-year-old Hudson Brooks in South Surrey in 2015 apologized to the young man’s mother Tuesday.
Const. Elizabeth Cucheran gave her testimony in day two of the BC Coroners Service inquest into the death.
“I have been waiting for almost six years to express my sincerest apologies that you had to bury your son. As a mother myself, I have grieved for you. And I want you to know I never went out there intending for the night to end this way. And I am incredibly sorry for your loss.” Cucheran said.
Brooks was killed outside the Surrey RCMP detachment on 152 Street in July 2015.
Evidence released by the BC Prosecution Service found Brooks had consumed significant quantities of alcohol and cocaine and was wandering down the street near the detachment vandalizing vehicles and yelling.
Cucheran was among the responding officers, she called the encounter with Brooks “absolutely terrifying.”
“As he was closing the distance between him and I, I could not get away fast enough. I was trying to run backwards with my gun out and eventually I realized that he was actually screaming at me ‘kill you, kill you, kill you, kill me’ and I remember thinking like I’m not going home tonight.”
She said that’s when she thinks she fired the first shot and that Brooks only flinched and continued to move towards her.
The parkade camera captured the officer retreating backwards and firing.
Cucheran said she couldn’t see the officer who radioed earlier that Brooks was coming at him. She also had a recruit with her, further intensifying the situation.
“When someone says they want to kill you and they charge at you and they are reaching for your gun and knowing that I have all these other tools: Taser on, pepper spray, baton and your gun outstretched in your arm I had everything he needed to kill me on me. That is what he was trying to get,” Cucheran said.
Cucheran said she lost her footing and Brooks landed on top of her and she fired the gun again, this time hitting both Brooks and herself in the leg.
The initial investigation determined Cucheran fired her gun 12 times, hitting the 20-year-old nine times.
He was shoeless and wearing only boxer shorts at the time, he was not armed.
Following an investigation by the Independent Investigation Office, Cucheran was charged with aggravated assault and assault with a weapon in December 2017.
Charges against her were stayed in 2019.
BC Prosecution Office said that was due to available evidence no longer satisfying the charge assessment standard.
She remains a member of the RCMP but is no longer a member of Surrey’s force.
The inquest is not to determine any legal responsibility, but to make recommendations aimed at preventing deaths under similar circumstances.