Looking through photos of her beloved son Sean on Friday, Shirley Brown took in a deep breath and got lost for a moment seeing her family in happier times.
Her brown-haired boy pictured smiling, soaking up childhood, and recorded in photos right up to his recent birthday, before he was shot and killed by Nanaimo RCMP on July 23.
“It should never have happened the way it happened. I just can’t get over the fact that he was shot and killed by the police and that should never, never have happened and I know it might have been a weapon but I think it was a wooden gun,” said Shirley Brown, a Qualicum Beach resident and Mother of Sean Brown.
54-year-old Sean Brown, had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder years ago, and had been living independently on a disability benefit, until he started experiencing episodes of extreme paranoia a few months ago.
His parents say he stayed close to his family though, and they repeatedly took him to doctors and hospitals when his condition worsened, where they pleaded for help.
“He was a genuine, loving kind man,” said Brown.
His dad was still waiting for a counselling appointment he called Island Health about for Sean, and he texted his mom, just hours before his death.
“I said ‘Hi Sean I love you’ and he wrote back ‘Hi Mom I love you’,” Brown read from texts sent on July 23rd from her phone.
His parents knew that Sean’s best friend was picking him up from his Nanaimo apartment, and according to his parents, the two were in her black Kia travelling down Haliburton Street when they began arguing and Sean punched her.
That’s when she called 911 and told Sean to get out of the car.
“She wanted to get him some help she recognized that he needed help, they’ve been knocking around together for what 18 years or something,” said Lester Brown, Sean’s Father.
“Sean was having a melt down and I guess a whole bunch of officers were called to the scene,” said Shirley.
According to witnesses CHEK News has spoken to, a woman was waving at traffic saying ‘Help me’, as cars passed, and what happened next is the subject of an Independent Investigations Office probe because Sean Brown was shot and killed. After IIO says he produced what the officer believed to be a weapon.
“They shot and killed Sean and it seems that there were several shots,” said Shirley.
“As far as I can see, you murdered my son,” said Lester.
Shirley feels sorry for the officer who shot her son and is pleading for new mental health funding to prevent a shooting like this happening again.
“This is my son, our son and there are so many sons that have gone before,” she said.
The IIO continues to investigate the moments leading up to the fatal shooting of Sean. The ninth police-involved shooting on Vancouver Island this year.