Winnipeg parents of girl, 16, fatally shot by police in shock and grieving
Father says his friend also shot and killed by police hours later in separate incident
First, William Hudson learned his daughter was killed. Then he got the news that one of his best friends was also dead.
His 16-year-old daughter and friend were killed in two separate Winnipeg police shootings that occurred less than 12 hours apart from Wednesday evening into Thursday morning.
Police shot Hudson's daughter Eishia on Wednesday night at the intersection of Lagimodiere Boulevard and Fermor Avenue, following what they said was a "full blown pursuit" that started after police said a group of teens robbed the Liquor Mart in Winnipeg's Sage Creek neighbourhood.
Police said the vehicle, which had been stolen a day prior and used initially in a robbery at another city Liquor Mart Wednesday morning, collided with multiple other vehicles. Four other teens — 15 and 16 years old — were arrested and 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.
WATCH | Gunshots heard in video filmed by eyewitness:
"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 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."
'A very generous guy'
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 of the incident that CBC News has verified, at least three shots can be heard and several pleas for the man to drop his gun and to put his hands up.
WATCH | Eyewitness footage of police shooting outside home:
Little can be seen from the video, which was filmed from across the street.
Police have not released the name of the man, and CBC News is not publishing his name until his family has been notified.
Hudson said he was also puzzled about his friend's death, remembering 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."
Daughter had 'huge heart'
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 who 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, saying the use of force wasn't warranted.
"Like, you don't shoot when you have a vehicle already stopped. There was no threat," said Hudson, referring to what he's been told was captured in the video. "It was all kids in the car. I just find it wrong."
Unclear if teens were armed, chief says
At a news conference Thursday, Smyth said he didn't know if any of the youths in the SUV were armed and explained when an officer would use their weapon.
"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.
Eishia's 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 [Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba] 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," Zebrasky said. "That was my worst fear. Eishia was my baby."
Funeral to comply with COVID-19 rules
Hudson said he's now trying to plan a funeral for his daughter that will adhere to physical distancing guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19. He knows that no more than 10 people will be permitted 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 spoke about 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, IIU, has taken over the investigations in both shootings.