North

Daughter of woman shot by police recalls mother's struggles

The daughter of a woman who was gunned down by police during a standoff says her mother's struggles are inspiring her to help others.

Emily Lander said her mother's problems are inspiring her to help others

The daughter of a woman who was gunned down by police during a standoff says her mother's struggles are inspiring her to help others.

Karen Lander was shot to death last March when RCMP were responding to reports that she was suicidal.

Speaking to CBC News, Emily Lander,18, says her mother was good woman who battled many demons

"I never thought I would lose her like that," she said.

Emily Lander lives in Edmonton and grew up in and out of contact with her mother.

"My mom was a good person, but alcohol took over her life. My mom had a lot of potential, she was a really good writer, she wanted to pursue journalism. She wanted to get better."

Karen Lander talked to Emily about being haunted by childhood abuse, and about her ongoing struggle to stay positive and sober.

"I think she handled it as much as she could. My mom was strong, but when she was weak, she was extremely weak."

Now, Emily hopes the inquiry into her mother's death puts the spotlight on mental health and addictions.

"I always told her I'd be the one to help her through that," she said.

Emily wants to be an addictions counsellor.

Karen Lander, right, seen with her daughter Mila Algiak, left. (Photo courtesy of Mila Algiak)

"I feel that if I could just help one person, that would be enough for me. I know what it's like to be going through something like this. I don't think anyone else should have to go through this as well."

Family testified at inquest Tuesday

Mila Algiak, another of Lander’s daughters, says her mother would still be alive today if police had called in family to help during the standoff.

"I just have one suggestion: for the police to contact any family. I think that if they did, it would have ended differently, and I think that if they did, she would have seen things differently and clearly and she’d still be here," Algiak told the inquest.

Lander's family members were the last to testify at a coroner's inquest into her death.

Lander's sister, Selena Rabesca, told the jury she was close to Karen and spoke with her daily. Rabesca says she phoned the RCMP detachment the afternoon of the standoff to find out if her sister was in holding cells.

"It was the first time I didn’t hear from her in 24 hours," she said.

Rabesca says she wasn't contacted about the standoff until that night. By then, it was too late.

Rabesca also says that people who knew Lander should have been called to help. She also told the jury there needs to be more support for people like Lander who struggle with addictions and mental illness.

As a coroner's jury combs through the details of her mother’s final days, Emily Lander said she is holding on to memories of her mother's sense of humour and big smile.

now