British Columbia

Police bullets killed both suspect and victim in Surrey hostage-taking, watchdog finds

A man and a woman who died in a hostage-taking situation at a home in Surrey, B.C., in March were killed by shots fired from RCMP, the province's police watchdog has found.

Multiple shots were fired when police entered home after 10-hour standoff in March

Nona McEwan and an unidentified man died after a 10-hour standoff with police. (Nona McEwan/Facebook)

A man and a woman who died in a hostage-taking situation at a home in Surrey, B.C., in March were killed by multiple shots fired from RCMP, the province's police watchdog has found.

Nona McEwan and an unidentified man died after a 10-hour standoff with police at the house in the 13300 block of 98A Street on March 29.

Police went into the home around 7:30 a.m. PT after unsuccessfully trying to resolve the situation through the night.

There was a confrontation between officers and the man inside and "shots were fired," the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. (IIO) said in a statement Thursday.

The man was pronounced dead at the scene and McEwan, who was shot twice, later died in hospital.

Initially, it was unclear who had fired the gunshots, but the IIO said its investigators have since determined the shots came from police. 

"The reason that [information] wasn't released the day of the event was that we didn't know that was the case," Ron MacDonald, chief civilian director of the IIO, said in a phone call Thursday.

"We were fairly certain that the male had died from multiple gunshots from police, but it was only after further investigation and forensic work we were able to conclude, with the evidence that we have at present, that the female also died after having received two shots from police."

Investigators have said McEwan and the unidentified man knew each other. McEwan previously worked at the Dell Lanes bowling alley in North Surrey and former colleagues described her as having "a heart of gold."

Part of the property in the 13300 block of 98A Avenue was covered with an orange tarp behind crime scene tape after the hostage-taking in March. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

Police haven't identified the man, but neighbours said officers could be heard addressing someone named "Randy," who was inside the home, through a bullhorn during the standoff.  

McEwan's friends said her boyfriend was Randy Crosson. They said McEwan and Crosson had a difficult relationship. 

On Thursday, her ex-husband, Shawn Stubling, told CBC he is devastated at losing Nona, and their two sons are struggling.  McEwan also has a daughter.  

He says he wants justice to be served for the woman he said would help anyone out. 

"I want somebody to be accountable for their actions. It never should happen again."

The police watchdog is continuing to work on the case. 

"The IIO's investigation continues into all aspects of this matter, with the goal to determine whether police actions were lawful, proportionate and reasonable, or if any offence may have been committed," Thursday's statement read.

RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Janelle Shoihet said Mounties are cooperating with the investigation.

"We continue to provide support to our employees that were directly and indirectly impacted by this incident," Shoihet wrote in an email.

The home where the hostage-taking took place is in the Central City area of Surrey. (CBC)

With files from Yvette Brend