The Ladysmith man shot in the head by police in Duncan on March 28, while driving a stolen skid steer, is breathing on his own and recognizing his loved ones.
Davin Cochrane, 32, regained consciousness a few weeks ago but fianceé Sarah Brown said doctors at Victoria General Hospital removed his trachea tube the first week of May.
Brown said he’s alert and able to communicate despite having a portion of his brain removed.
“He’s doing good, considering,” Brown said Monday, adding that she’s more hopeful than ever that her partner will recover.
Cochrane, the father of four-month-old daughter Mylah, and step-dad to Preston, 11, and Willow, 6, was shot twice in the head by a North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP officer during a bizarre incident involving a skid steer he allegedly stole and drove recklessly around a North Cowichan neighbourhood Tuesday, March 28.
The IIO is investigating, as it investigates all officer-related incidents that result in serious harm or death, whether or not there is any allegation of wrongdoing.
Meanwhile, Brown has written an open letter to the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP outlining the concerns of she and her supporters with regard to their conduct.
“Despite mandatory training, officers failed to de-escalate the situation, resorting instead to [use] deadly force to subdue someone in crisis,” the letter said. “We are disturbed to know that members of our community are at risk of being shot by the people meant to protect them…Witnessing RCMP conduct in this shooting does not make us feel safe in our community. On the contrary we recognize this incident as part of a larger pattern of violence, intimidation and escalation.”
The letter detailed a 2019 police involved shooting in which “officers from Shawnigan Lake shot and killed Chris Bloomfield while he was suffering from psychosis” after his mother asked them to help her get him to the hospital. The Independent Investigations Office cleared the RCMP of wrongdoing in the case.
The letter outlined incidents in Campbell River (2021) and North Vancouver (2022) in which RCMP officers shot and killed citizens as they experienced mental health crises.
“Police-involved shootings rose nearly 20 per cent in Canada last year and B.C. led the way with 23 shootings,” said the letter. “Again and again, officers tasked with protecting the public instead inflict violence against our communities. It’s clear that RCMP are not suited to respond to mental health crises.”
Ultimately, Brown and others want the RCMP to be removed from mental health response services and to be able to feel safe in their communities once more.
“We demand accountability for this violence and assurance that friends, family and community members are met with care and respect.”
Brown and Cochrane have met with a lawyer and plan to launch a personal injury claim against both the RCMP and Cowichan District Hospital.
Brown believes Island Health erred in allowing Cochrane to leave the hospital, where he’d been taken following a car crash in Chemainus earlier in the day on March 28. Instead, she said, hospital staff let him walk away without letting her know.
Island Health maintains it’s their policy to protect the privacy of their patients and not contact loved ones unless specifically asked to do so, and as well, if patients aren’t admitted to the hospital and don’t pose a danger, they are free to leave if they so choose.
The Citizen reached out to the RCMP and are awaiting a response.