Saskatchewan

'He didn't deserve to die like that': Man killed by Regina police was a 'family man'

Tanisha Whiteman says she is still in shock after hearing the news that her 41-year-old father was killed by an officer after Regina police reported a hostage-taking early Saturday.

Geoff Morris shot and killed by police during alleged hostage taking

Geoff Morris has been identified as the man killed in an officer shooting in Regina on Saturday morning. (Geoff Morris/Facebook)

Geoff Morris was the sort of dad who would fix his daughters' hair before school and would arrange family barbecues or a last minute-birthday celebration, says his daughter.

"He used to take us everywhere, tried to give us the childhood he didn't get to have, because he's been through so much abuse and trauma," said 21-year-old Tanisha Whiteman.

Whiteman said she was still in shock after hearing the news that her 41-year-old father was killed by an officer after Regina police reported a hostage-taking early Saturday. 

"He didn't deserve to die like that. He didn't deserve to go like that."

Police report officer shooting

Police say they responded to a report of a disturbance in the 1900 block of Halifax Street at about 5:38 a.m. and found a man armed with a knife, holding a woman hostage.

Crisis negotiators and the SWAT team were on scene, and Regina Police Chief Evan Bray said police tried to de-escalate the situation between the time of the response and the time the man was shot. Police would not specify the length of the interaction.  

"These situations are very fluid, they're very dynamic; things happen very rapidly," he told reporters on Saturday.

'He was struggling'

Whiteman said she learned from her mother how her father had died — something she found unbelievable at first.

"It's weird having to talk about it. I'm never going to be able to see him again, or hear his voice."

She said her father had four biological children, but also took in six other kids — including her — and raised them as his own.

Tanisha Whiteman (pictured at right) says her father Geoff Morris (centre) was always present in her life growing up, and was very involved in his children's lives. (Submitted by Tanisha Whiteman)
 

"We'll tell you the same thing, he was a good father. He had such a good heart. He was a family man."

Morris suffered from a lot of anxiety, depression and trauma from his past and ended up going down the wrong path, she said.

"Even though he looked solid and tough and everything, I knew that he was struggling. He had troubles, and it was hard for him to deal with that."

Whiteman has one question that keeps repeating itself in her mind: Why did police shoot him?

"That's somebody's father. That's somebody's son. That's somebody's brother, somebody's nephew. He was loved by so many people," she said. "Why? Just like that, he's gone.

"There could have been other ways that could have been handled. They didn't have to take someone's life away."

Police say it's the first time in over 20 years that a member of the Regina Police Service has been involved in an officer-related death. They say they are now investigating the case, along with the coroner.

Bray has confirmed there will be no third-party investigation into the matter, but that the provincial justice ministry will provide oversight into the investigation into Morris's death.