The body of a man killed during a police shooting in North Battleford is on its way to the Onion Lake Cree Nation.
Brydon Whitstone’s body was released to his family Wednesday following an autopsy.
The 22-year-old was shot and later died after allegedly ramming into an RCMP cruiser last Saturday.
“Its very traumatic especially when you’ve just seen Brydon a few minutes earlier. Then all of sudden he is gone,” said his aunt, Ruth Lewis, when describing how Whitstone’s mom was coping in the wake of the tragedy.
RCMP in a media release said they received a call about a person being chased and shot at. Officers located a vehicle driven by Whitstone and gave chase. The chase ended shortly after Whitstone allegedly rammed into a police cruiser on a residential street corner.
Lewis said while they know Whitstone was shot, there’s still one burning question they want answered.
“Was there a gun involved, did he try shooting at the police, did he aim a gun, like what warranted him to be shot? That’s all I want to know.”
Lewis said it’s hard waiting for answers as they prepare to say goodbye this weekend.
A wake in the community will begin Thursday followed by a funeral on Saturday.
FAMILY REFUTES MEDIA REPORT
Media reports surfaced this week suggesting RCMP had pursued the wrong vehicle prior to the deadly altercation.
A man identified as Landin Blanko told CTV Monday that officers were chasing the wrong man when they began pursuing the vehicle Whitstone was driving in connection to the earlier report of a shooting.
Blanko also told media he was Whitsrone’s brother, something Lewis said wasn’t true.
“I have no idea who that is, and I don’t know why he would claim to be a brother to my nephew,” said Lewis, concluding Blanko may have been a “street brother” to Whitstone.
Lewis said she and her family are trying to block out the speculation surrounding the shooting until the investigation is completed.
“My sister and I are going to go by the reports that are being given to us by the sergeant. We have to try and remain neutral in all of this.”
AUNT DOESN’T BELIEVE RACE A FACTOR IN NEPHEW’S DEATH
Lewis also took issue with the suggestion race was factor in the shooting.
FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron told 650 CKOM he had serious concerns about what led police to use lethal force, adding the situation furthered mistrust among First Nations people towards the justice system.
“Race has no place in this it all. I don’t believe it had anything to do with race,” Lewis said .
Lewis said she planned to contact the FSIN to discuss the purpose of Cameron’ comments.