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

Delays on Highway 3 at Kootenay Pass

DriveBC reminding travellers the area is an active wildfire zone and warning of fallen debris.

Fernie SAR rescues injured mountain biker

On Monday evening, Fernie Search and Rescue (SAR) was tasked by BC… Continue reading

Fernie man builds 10-foot sign thanking fire responders

Ken Rawson built his “thank u” sign on Saturday as helicopters responded to fires in the Elk Valley

SAR volunteers thanked after series of emergencies

Incidents ranged from the search for a missing hiker to delivering evacuation alerts in nearby towns

Update: guard built at Coal Creek Road fire near Fernie

Seventeen firefighters and one helicopter working to contain Coal Creek FSR fire, east of Fernie

Social media, digital photography allow millennials to flock to birdwatching

More young people are flocking to birdwatching than ever, aided by social media, digital photography

‘Takes more courage to fail’: B.C. ultra-marathon swimmer reflects on cancelled try at record

Susan Simmons halted her swim from Victoria to Port Angeles and back because of hypothermia

Animals moved from B.C. Interior shelters to make way for pets displaced by wildfires

The Maple Ridge SPCA houses animals to make space for pets evacuated from B.C.’s burning interior.

$21.5 million medical pot plant to be built in B.C.

The facility is to be built in Princeton

Spokane man enlists 500,000+ box fans to blow wildfire smoke back to B.C.

Spokane man Caleb Moon says he’s had enough with smoky skies from B.C.’s forest fires blanketing his city

Feds agree to look at easing jury secrecy as part of review

At issue is a law that forbids jurors from talking about closed-door deliberations

Forest fuel work needed to slow wildfires, B.C. premier says

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan joins John Horgan for tour

Liberals unveil poverty plan with lofty goals, but no new spending

Government’s goal is to lift 2.1 million people out of poverty by 2030

PHOTOS: Prickly porcupine rescued after hitchhiking down Coquihalla Highway

BC Conservation Officer Service members were able to grab the porcupine and move it to safety

Most Read