First William Hudson found out his daughter was killed — then came the news that one of his best friends was also dead.
Both were killed in two separate Winnipeg police shootings that took place less than 12 hours apart from Wednesday evening into Thursday morning.
Police shot his 16-year-old daughter, Eishia Hudson, Wednesday night at the intersection of Lagimodiere Boulevard and Fermor Avenue, following what they described as a “full blown pursuit” that started after police said a group of teens robbed the Liquor Mart in Sage Creek.
Police said the vehicle had been stolen and collided with multiple other vehicles. Four other teens — 15 and 16 years old — were arrested have been charged with multiple offences.
Bystanders captured the shooting and its aftermath on video and posted it to social media. Hudson said he hasn’t seen the footage.
“I don’t even want to see that video,” he said. “As a parent can you imagine wanting to see that video? It’s hard. I don’t already like watching the news about it. I don’t believe it. You know what I mean?”
He’s said he’s having a tough time believing that his daughter, who loved sports, got caught up with the wrong crowd.
“I loved my daughter. She was very smart. Always liked athletics. I had her in hockey programs. She was going to graduate next year.”
Death of best friend
He is also trying to come to terms with the death of one of his best friends. The 36-year-old man was shot by Winnipeg police early Thursday morning after officers responded to a domestic violence call on Anderson Avenue between Salter and Aikins streets.
Police Chief Danny Smyth said officers arrived to find a screaming female and discovered a man with a firearm.
Smyth said the man exited the house and confronted police outside and one officer fired his gun. In a video posted on Facebook from the incident, at least three shots can be heard and several pleas for the man to drop his gun are made along with pleas from officers to put his hands up.
Little can be seen from the video, which was taken from across the street.
Police have not yet released the name of the man killed and CBC is not publishing it until confirming all of his family has been notified.
Hudson said he was also puzzled about the death of his friend and remembered him as a helping hand on construction jobs they would do together.
“A very generous guy you know what I mean if he had a sweater, he’d give you it.”
Eishia’s mom Christie Zebrasky said her daughter had many challenges in her life.
“Eishia, she never gave up. She was a strong girl.”
Zebrasky said Eishia had nieces and nephews that meant the world to her.
“She was athletic. She had a huge heart.”
Both she and Hudson want to know why Winnipeg police fired at their daughter, suggesting the use of force wasn’t warranted.
“I’m wondering where did they shoot her to [leave] her dead,” Zebrasky said in an interview Thursday night.
Not clear if teens were armed: chief
Smyth said he didn’t know if any of the youth in the SUV were armed and explained when it would be appropriate for an officer to fire their weapon at a news conference Thursday.
“Generally speaking use of force or deadly use of force is appropriate when an officer fears for their own life or the life and safety of others,” he said.
Both parents said Winnipeg police didn’t inform them about their daughter’s death Wednesday and said they were left to call around city hospitals trying to find out where she was.
“I wasn’t getting answers until IIU came here and told me that my daughter was dead. Like, I couldn’t get answers until those people came to my door and told me that my daughter was dead.
“That was my worst fear. Eishia was my baby,” Zebrasky said.
Funeral will have to comply with COVID-19 rules
Hudson said he’s now trying to plan a funeral for his daughter that will respect physical distancing guidelines set up to prevent the spread of COVID-19. He knows no more than 10 people will be able to gather at once to say goodbye to his girl and is hoping the rules don’t change before her service.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen by next week. We don’t know what’s going to happen by Monday. We don’t know what’s going to happen because anything can change all the time.”
While Smyth released few other details about the two fatal incidents, he did comment on their impact.
“This has been a tragic 12 hour period of time for our community. Two unrelated events in separate parts of the city and I can tell you that the police officers involved did not come to work expecting to be involved in shootings especially shootings that resulted in fatalities.”
The police watchdog has taken over the investigations in both shootings.
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