A Maple Ridge man has offered to donate money for counselling services for a woman whose brother was shot by Ridge Meadows RCMP in their home.
Carl Wheaton said he has followed the story of the police shooting of Kyaw Din. He wants to pay for six months worth of counselling for his sister, who was there when he was fatally shot.
Kyaw was a Myanmar immigrant who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, and was in need of medical assistance on the day he was killed in August of 2019. Four officers had arrived at the home to assist ambulance attendants who were trying to get him to hospital.
The Independent Investigations Office, a provincial police watchdog agency, did not recommend charges against the officer who shot and killed the 54-year-old, based on the finding Din had been violent toward police.
The victim’s sister Yin Yin, who dealt with police at the scene on the day of his shooting, has called for charges against the officer.
She has been denied victim’s assistance – no funds for counselling – by the Crime Victim Assistance Program, because the agency said her brother was not the victim of a criminal offence.
Wheaton explained that he lost his own foster daughter.
“It honestly has just drowned me,” he said. “And I went to therapy, and it has helped me.”
So he has empathy for Yin Yin, and the family tragedy she has endured.
“She witnessed all of that, and it’s her loving brother, and it’s terrible,” he said. “I’m in a position to help this lady, and I would really like to do that.”
He said he will pay for counselling sessions twice a month for six months. He will write a cheque, “no strings attached.”
After two years of counselling, Wheaton has been able to deal with his own feelings of loss, and regrets that he couldn’t save his foster daughter, who had her own mental health battles.
A counsellor helped lift the burden with a simple ask: “Did you do your best?”
He said he was at first offended by the question.
“Of course I did my best,” he answered.
“How could you do better than your best?” the counsellor pointed out, and it helped free him from feelings of guilt.
Wheaton’s late foster daughter had some dealings with police when she was in an elevated state, and he believes officers need the best possible training and protocols to deal with these situations, which too often end in tragedy. He said police reviews must be more transparent, and give families answers in a timely manner.
Yin Yin was appreciative of Wheaton’s offer, and said she has been in a depression that has lasted months.
“I’m deeply thankful, and really appreciate it. I feel there are people who are empathetic after what happened to Kyaw. “There was no reason for my brother to have been killed by police.”
“Sometimes I feel abandoned, but people like this… I really look up to.”
She awaits a decision by the BC Coroner’s Service, about whether to hold an inquiry into the shooting.
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