This week marks two years since a man was shot and killed by RCMP at his home in Holdfast, but to this date, authorities will not release the circumstances of the shooting or names of anyone involved. In the first of a two-part series, Global News tracks down the family, who decided to share their story in hopes of shedding light on the darkness that is police investigating police. Part two can be found here.
REGINA – As a boy, Gerald Lord became a well-seasoned traveler with his parents – attending school in Florida, even visiting the Montana landmark known as “Custer’s Last Stand.”
But eventually, it was time for an adventure of his own.
Rick and Barbara Lord said goodbye to their now-adult son, who left his southern Ontario home for small-town Saskatchewan.
He settled in the village of Holdfast – at least, when he wasn’t on the road.
“Even though he was educated, Gerry decided to drive a truck,” his mother said from the couple’s home in Collingwood, Ontario.
Gerald Lord, 42, was killed at his Holdfast home on September 11, 2013. Lord family / Supplied
Gerald Lord, 42, was killed at his Holdfast home on September 11, 2013.
Lord family / Supplied
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September 11, 2013, began innocently for the Lords as they exchanged text messages with their son.
“(He seemed) happy-go-lucky, doing his laundry … looking toward where he was going next.”
Wherever it was, he would never get there. What unfolded that evening would become the family’s nightmare.
Mounties said they were called to a home in Holdfast that night after reports of a disturbance. According to the RCMP, there was a “physical altercation” between a 42-year-old man and an RCMP member, who shot him. Exactly what happened, however, has not been made public.
“I thought this can’t possibly be true.”
Days later, the Lords first heard the devastating news over the phone: that man was their son, Gerald.
“I just let the phone go … I thought this can’t possibly be true,” Barbara recalled.
WATCH BELOW: RCMP shoot, kill Holdfast man; Regina Police to investigate (Sept. 12, 2013)
According to the family, for a year and a half, they were told nothing else – just that their son had been killed at the hands of an officer. They say they had no idea what actually led up to his death, and there was little communication from the RCMP in Saskatchewan.
“We called several times, and (were given) the same story,” Rick said. “It’s an (ongoing) investigation, we can’t tell you anything.”
Finally, in March 2015, the Lords say two members of the Saskatchewan RCMP and an investigator from the Regina Police Service travelled to Ontario to meet with them and piece together their side of things.
“They suggested (the officer) thought his life was in danger,” Rick said.
According to Gerald’s parents, the three men in their living room finally provided an account of what happened: Gerald was drinking that night, which is something he did often. He got into an argument with the friend, which escalated to that person calling 911.
Mounties said they were called to a home in Holdfast on September 11, 2013, to reports of a disturbance. According to the RCMP, there was a “physical altercation” between a 42-year-old man and the RCMP member who shot him. Matt Myers / Global News
Mounties said they were called to a home in Holdfast on September 11, 2013, to reports of a disturbance. According to the RCMP, there was a “physical altercation” between a 42-year-old man and the RCMP member who shot him.
Matt Myers / Global News
A lone RCMP member showed up from the Craik detachment, about 40 kilometres away, the Lords say they were told. He ended up at the back door, trying to arrest Gerald – who resisted, and even tried to fight the officer off. RCMP haven’t said if any weapons were found on Gerald or anywhere in his home.
The member attempted to use his Taser to subdue Gerald, but was unsuccessful. The struggle continued; he drew his gun and shot Gerald four times, killing him instantly.
The Regina Police Service was called in as an observer to the investigation. In early 2015, their findings were turned over to the Saskatchewan Ministry of Justice. Ultimately his death was ruled non-culpable homicide – in other words, the officer’s actions were justified.
But the proof is locked away, not to be released, and may only become public through a coroner’s inquest that has yet to be scheduled.
The Saskatchewan RCMP and Regina Police have turned down repeated Global News requests to release information about Gerald Lord’s case; they won’t say how these events transpired or why the officer’s actions were justified. In other provinces these investigations unfold differently – with greater independence and transparency.
PART TWO of this series continues here, asking the question: does Saskatchewan need a better police watchdog?