Guthrie McKay and Lisa Dudley were shot in their Mission home in September 2008.

Police need policy on ‘grievous bodily harm’ calls: B.C. murder inquest

Lisa Dudley and Guthrie McKay had been shot in attack over a marijuana grow-op in their home

Jurors who heard this week about a woman who spent four days paralyzed and dying inside her home in rural British Columbia say police and their dispatchers need to review how they handle serious calls.

A coroner’s inquest heard that two RCMP officers responded to a call about shots fired in Mission, B.C., in 2008, but did not get out of their vehicles to investigate or contact the neighbour who called 911.

Inside the home, 37-year-old Lisa Dudley and her boyfriend Guthrie McKay had been shot in an attack over a marijuana grow-op in their home. McKay died immediately but Dudley was paralyzed and lay in the home for four days until a neighbour checked in and called for help.

Dudley died in the ambulance on the way to hospital.

The inquest issued its written verdict Thursday night, ruling Dudley’s death a homicide and saying she had died of gunshot wounds to her head and neck.

Jurors also made nine recommendations, including that RCMP explore policies around following up on calls about “potential grievous bodily harm” like shootings and stabbings, and look at increased training if such policies are already in place.

A recording was played at the hearing this week where Cpl. Michael White, then a constable with seven years of experience, laughed with a police dispatcher about a 911 call made by Dudley’s neighbour.

“Six gunshots in a row and a crash,” the officer said before laughing.

“Yeah, exactly. Don’t you love this?” the dispatcher replied.

READ MORE: Final man gets 10 years in 2008 killing of Mission couple

READ MORE: Claim dismissed against RCMP over 2008 Mission woman’s murder

READ MORE: RCMP officer says he was skeptical about shots fired call in Lisa Dudley case

Monique Pongracic-Speier, a lawyer for Dudley’s family, asked White whether he thought a shots-fired call was funny.

“No, it’s not funny,” he told the inquest. “I was skeptical.”

White told the five-member jury he had reservations about the call because it was an unusually high number of gunshots and it had only been reported by one neighbour. It could have been firecrackers or another unknown noise, he said.

The RCMP later gave the officer a written reprimand and docked him a day’s pay as punishment.

Rosemarie Surakka outside court after Thomas Holden was found guilty on Feb. 10, 2017. (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media

The juror’s verdict said the force should implement a mandatory routine review and training on “First Response Investigations Policy” at all levels.

The inquest also recommended that the Mounties’ dispatch service procedures and training make sure employees “properly and thoroughly document all details reported by a complainant,” and that all calls are recorded and can be made public under access to information laws.

RCMP did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the recommendations.

The inquest also made suggestions for B.C.’s Ministry of Public Safety, saying the office should review how complaints of potential grievous bodily harm are investigated by all police agencies across the province, and explore implementing mandatory training for responding to those complaints.

Jurors also wanted to see BC Emergency Health Services explore options for “a designated air ambulance that is better equipped to allow patient care during transport,” the inquest’s verdict said.

Neither the Ministry of Public Safety or BC Emergency Health Services was immediately available to comment on the recommendations.

Dudley’s stepfather, Mark Surakka, said outside the inquest on Monday that he did not expect to get justice from the process but was hoping to find some answers.

The goal of an inquest is not to lay blame, but to determine the events that led to a person’s death and potentially make recommendations to prevent similar deaths in the future.

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Evacuation order issued for St. Mary Valley

On Thursday evening at 8 p.m., the Regional District of East Kootenay… Continue reading

Louise Baxter found after 72 hour search

Cranbrook hiker had been missing since Sunday, August 12, near Jumbo Pass.

Regional hospital development study on hold

Plan to study future regional hospital development on hold due to staffing shortage: KERHD chair

Barrel rider Bobbie Goodwin back at Cranbrook Pro Rodeo

Back at the Cranbrook Pro Rodeo for 2018’s event, which takes place… Continue reading

UPDATE: RCMP say missing Cranbrook hiker found

Kimberley RCMP is reporting that a Cranbrook hiker missing in the Jumbo… Continue reading

B.C. wildfires 2018: Hazy skies impacting crews in spotting new fires

18,000 people are on an evacuation alert, with 3,000 homes under an evacuation order

Registration open now for October disc golf tournament

Registration opened on Monday, August 13 for the 2018 B.C. Provincials —… Continue reading

Paving underway on Cobham Avenue

Paving is underway on the City’s largest capital infrastructure project of 2018,… Continue reading

Minister optimistic after 2 days of Columbia River Treaty negotiations

Canadian and U.S. officials met in Nelson Wednesday and Thursday to discuss future of the treaty

Man dies in B.C. police cell while awaiting court hearing

An independent investigation is underway after a man died while in Penticton police custody Aug. 16

RCMP appeal for tips, dashcam footage in German tourist shooting west of Calgary

The Durango crashed into the ditch after the shooting near the Goodstoney Rodeo Centre

2 nurses attacked at B.C. psych hospital, union calls for in-unit security

PHSA says that in-unit guards would do more harm than good

Former B.C. optician won’t be jailed for sexually assaulting minor

Kenneth Pilkington sentenced to 24 months’ probation for offence three decades ago

B.C. program to educate parents reduces ‘shaken baby syndrome’ by 35%

Period of PURPLE Crying was launched nearly a decade ago

Most Read