Family of woman killed by Victoria police says there was no reason to shoot


Surveillance video taken in the hallway of the police response that led to Lisa Rauch’s death was played on the second day of the public hearing into police actions.

The public hearing is looking into whether a Victoria Police officer used unnecessary force when he shot and killed Lisa, who was going through a mental health crisis, on Christmas Day in 2019.

The CCTV video shows the third floor of a supportive housing apartment on Pandora Avenue. The video shows Lisa early that Christmas Day punching and kicking doors before the tenant Sylvia Dick let her into her apartment 311.

A series of other unidentified men are seen arriving and leaving the apartment.

Dick testified that Lisa was using meth and began exhibiting signs of aggression, calling it psychosis. Dick says Lisa wouldn’t let her leave, threatening “I’ll fucking kill you,” with a knife in her hand.

Dick was able to leave the apartment, and reported it to the housing manager, who called 911.

Patrol initially arrived, but the call was escalated after officers observed smoke coming from the unit she was refusing to come out of. The security footage does not show any smoke. Patrol held the scene until the Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team (GVRT) arrived.

On the CCTV footage, six GVRT members can be seen moving in “stack” formation. Seven minutes later, some of those officers appear to have gone inside the apartment, as Victoria firefighters gear up.

Another seven minutes later everyone is seen backing down the hallway, officers carrying out the limp body of Lisa.

“It was very tough to see,” Ron Rauch, Lisa’s father, told CHEK News.

This was the first time that Lisa’s family saw the images of her final moments.

“To watch that in the hallways was really traumatizing and hard. To see her carried out like that,” said Lenore Spencer, a family friend, holding back tears.

The images are leaving her family with few answers and more questions.

“The video doesn’t tell the whole story,” said Ron.

Investigators with the Independent Investigations Offices (IIO) were previously told that when officers opened the door, they saw flames and thick smoke obscuring their view of the room.

“For all that talk about smoke, I couldn’t see any. I couldn’t see any billowing out,” said Spencer.

Lisa’s autopsy found no evidence of smoke inhalation or injuries from the fire.

Victoria Police Const. Ron Kirkwood, now sergeant, is facing allegations of abuse of authority and neglect of duty related to Lisa’s death.

Kirkwood was one of the GVRT members at the front of the stack. He’s previously said he didn’t have a clear visual, that he thought he saw Lisa standing and fired three ARWEN rubber rounds at what he thought was her torso.

She was actually sitting. The ARWEN rounds, designed to be less lethal means of force, hit her head. Lisa died of blunt force trauma four days later.

“They could have gotten her out of there without shooting her,” said Ron.

This hearing intends to determine if Kirkwood recklessly or intentionally used unnecessary force in shooting Lisa with the ARWEN.

Mid-May, retired judge Wally Oppal who is presiding over this public hearing will make a decision. When he does, it will be final. He can also make recommendations about police policy and practice.


Kori Sidaway

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