Saskatoon

Colten Boushie's mother observes 2nd day of Brydon Whitstone inquest

The woman who had a front seat view of a tense standoff that ended in the death of a man in North Battleford is set to testify at the inquest Tuesday.

Debbie Baptiste joined those viewing the inquest during testimony from RCMP collision analyst

A coroner's inquest into the death of Brydon Whitstone continues in Battleford, Sask., on Tuesday. (Albert Whitstone)

Debbie Baptiste, the mother of Colten Boushie, joined the audience at a coroner's inquest into the fatal RCMP shooting of Brydon Whitstone Tuesday.

An RCMP officer fatally shot 22-year-old Whitstone of Onion Lake Cree Nation following a brief police chase on Oct. 21, 2017.

The inquest into Whitstone's death began Monday in Battleford. Jurors heard that Whitstone and his passenger did not follow shouted orders by RCMP members to exit the car, which was surrounded by officers and police vehicles.

The inquest is a fact-finding mission and not a criminal trial.

Boushie was fatally shot by farmer Gerald Stanley in 2016. A jury found Stanley not guilty of second-degree murder last February.

Stanley's trial took place in the same courtroom where the inquest into Whitstone's death is underway.

Baptiste entered the courtroom Tuesday as Cpl. Robert Topping of the RCMP gave the inquest details about three vehicle collisions — two between Whitstone's car and RCMP vehicles  — leading to the shooting.

Later, outside the courthouse, she said she came to provide support for another mother: Dorothy Laboucane, the mother of Brydon Whitstone.

"She's going through a very tough time right now and I know she wants justice for her son like I did," said Baptiste. "She needs more support from the First Nation people. 

Laboucane said she was not expecting Baptiste​ to show up.

Whitstone was handcuffed

Following RCMP Cpl. Topping, an advanced care paramedic who treated Whitstone at the scene of the shooting testified.

Richard Kenkel said paramedics tried to revive Whitstone for 20 minutes before pronouncing him dead.

"Due to the locations of the gun shots [to his chest, near the heart] and exit wounds, I doubted a doctor or hospital would have been able to [resuscitate] him," Kenkel said. 

He said an RCMP officer was giving Whitstone chest compressions when he arrived to find Whitstone laying on his back, his hands handcuffed over his head. 

Firefighters also tried to revive Whitstone, Kenkel said. 

Passenger to testify

The inquest is expected will hear Tuesday afternoon from Whitstone's girlfriend Amanda Wahobin.

Wahobin previously gave her account to CBC News, which echoed a statement she gave to Regina Police Service a day after the shooting.

She said Whitstone had no weapon that day — a fact verified during the inquest — but that she believes Whitstone committed suicide by cop.

Whitstone's family rejected that idea during the inquest.

"Is there any evidence that [Wahobin's] claims of Brydon wanting to commit suicide are supported?" asked Mark Ebert, the lawyer for the Whitstone family.

"Other than her, no," replied Det. Sgt. Pierre Beauchesne, an investigator with Regina Police.

Ebert also questioned whether Wahobin's admitted heavy drug use could have clouded her account of the night's events.

Constable cleared, bullets found on Whitstone

Jurors have heard that a constable fired twice at Whitstone's chest when he saw the man reach for something and feared for his life.

Jurors have also heard that 13 bullets were in a sock found in Whitstone's pocket, and that one bullet was found in Whitstone's stomach, as if it had been swallowed.

Crown prosecutors have already decided that the constable's actions do no warrant criminal charges.

About the Author

Guy Quenneville

Reporter and web writer for CBC Saskatoon

Story tips, ideas, complaints, just want to say 'Hi'? Write me at guy.quenneville@cbc.ca