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

Shuswap bottle drive to support pediatric cancer research

Young cancer patient doing her best to help others with the disease that hits one in 333 kids

Regional district directors’ pay conflict resolved in new bylaw

11th-hour attempt for more by CSRD electoral area directors fails

Race is on for Shuswap late-run sockeye salmon

New estimates say about 750,000 sockeye will spawn on the Adams River, similar to 2014 dominant run

In photos: Ready, set, roll!

Friendship Day Soap Box Derby excitement in downtown Salmon Arm

Iconic Shuswap sternwheeler undergoing work for return to service

Sicamous business owner Mike Helfrick hopes to offer dinner tours on historic vessel

Weekday weather update

A look at your Okanagan-Shuswap weekday weather for Sept. 24

Edmonton cannabis company revenues more than triples to $19.1 million

Aurora Cannabis revenues more than triple in fourth quarter

B.C. pharmacist suspended for giving drugs with human placenta

RCMP had samples of the seized substances tested by Health Canada

Seattle one step closer to NHL after arena plan approved

Seattle City Council unanimously approved plans for a privately funded $700 million renovation of KeyArena

Harvest Moon to light up B.C. skies with an ‘autumn hue’

It’s the first moon after the autumn equinox

Hockey league gets $1.4M for assistance program after Humboldt Broncos crash

Program will help players, families, coaches and volunteers after the shock of the deadly crash

Don’t feed birds in the parking lot

Vernon wildlife control services owner says feeding ducks and geese, or any wildlife, is bad

Canada has removed six out of 900 asylum seekers already facing U.S. deportation

Ottawa had said the ‘overwhelming majority’ had been removed

Most Read