Top News

Mother pressing for answers in the death of her son after May 27 police-involved shooting of Jeremy Stephens

Police tape surrounds the home in Summerside where Jeremy Stephens’ was shot  by members of the Summerside Police Services May 17, during the investigation of a motel robbery in the city hours earlier.
Police tape surrounds the home in Summerside where Jeremy Stephens’ was shot by members of the Summerside Police Services May 27, during the investigation of a motel robbery in the city hours earlier. -File photo

Continues to seek coroner's inquest

SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. – The mother of a man shot and killed by Summerside City police officers on May 27 says she is still in the dark about circumstances surrounding Jeremy Stephens’ death.

In a statement issued through her lawyer on Monday, Gilda Stephens says she has many questions that should have clear answers.

“When you’re dealing with situations like this and when you’re dealing with many government officials, government departments, different layers of investigation, yes, sometimes the family is a last to know,” acknowledged Julie Kirkpatrick, lawyer for Gilda Stephens.

“That, I think, is quite common and, from the family’s perspective, it’s a problem and shouldn’t be that way,” Kirkpatrick commented. “Any family should have full information as quickly as possible.”

The shooting occurred while police were investigating a robbery at a Summerside hotel.

Stephens expressed disappointment in what she considers confusing information received from government officials, the delay in receiving her son’s records from various offices including the report of the post-mortem investigation from the Office of the Chief Coroner and with “the troubling fact that the Summerside police force executed search warrants at the scene following Jeremy’s death, and remained involved in the criminal prosecution of individuals who witnessed some of the relevant events.”

Kirkpatrick said she considers the Summerside force’s involvement following the shooting to be unusual.

“It is important to insure, both the integrity of an investigation and, also, for the family and the public’s sake, the appearance. You don’t want any rumours; you don’t want any lingering questions; you don’t want a family that’s grieving to be so in-the-dark,” she said.

“You can imagine how many questions Mrs. Stephens has,” Kirkpatrick commented. “She’s hearing rumours in the community; she’s hearing many different stories, many different interpretations of the information. What she wants, she wants the documentary information; she wants the documents. She wants the coroner’s report.”

She said the only information Mrs. Stephens has received so far are the medical records from the hospital.”

The lawyer would not disclose what those records contain.

The investigation into the events surrounding the police shooting has been turned over to the Nova Scotia Serious Incident Response Team.

“SiRT has to do their investigation,” Kirkpatrick acknowledged. “Of course they do, but does that mean that the family can’t know? Does that mean the family has to be kept in the dark until the investigation is complete, and why?

“It seems to me that the family is entitled to not be kind of left hanging and waiting.”

Stephens said she remains of the view that an inquest must be held into her son’s death but has been told a decision will not be made until the SIRT investigation is complete. She’s been told that investigation will still take many, many months.

When contacted by the Journal Pioneer, a P.E.I. Justice Department official reiterated Monday that the P.E.I. Coroner’s Office has indicated no decision on an inquest will be made until the coroner has received the SiRT report.

In her statement, Mrs. Stephens, said she has instructed her lawyer to retain the services of Ian Scott, a former Director of the Special Investigations Unit in Ontario, and Dr. Christopher Milroy, an internationally recognized forensic pathologist.

“Based on the bits of pieces of what we know so far, we know that we’re going to need some help in making sense of the information once we have it,” Kirkpatrick explained.

Recent Stories