The widow of an Alberta RCMP officer shot and killed on duty hopes politicians take seriously any recommendations from a fatality inquiry into his death.
“My hopes are that anything that is recommended by the judge will be followed through with,” says Shelly MacInnis-Wynn.
Const. David Wynn, 42, was slain in a casino in St. Albert, north of Edmonton, while investigating a stolen truck in 2015.
Eyewitnesses described Wynn and his partner, auxiliary constable Derek Bond, chasing a man. One of the officers tried to grab the suspect, who pulled a gun and shot both officers in the ensuing struggle.
Wynn died in hospital three days later from a head wound. Bond was shot in the arm and torso but survived.
Shawn Rehn, the suspected car thief, was found 10 hours later in a nearby acreage home, dead from an apparent suicide.
It was soon discovered that Rehn was a career criminal out on bail while facing 15 charges, including escaping lawful custody, possession of a prohibited firearm and failing to show up to a previous bail hearing.
Senior RCMP officers questioned at the time why Rehn was out on the street. Alberta’s justice minister called for a review of how the case was handled.
Alberta has since stopped using police officers to stand in for Crown prosecutors during bail hearings. The use of auxiliary constables has also been restricted.
A dangerous loophole
Shelly MacInnis-Wynn, who plans to attend the three-day fatality inquiry set to begin Wednesday, points out that although the hearings aren’t called to assess blame, they are meant to recommend how such tragedies can be avoided.
“These inquiries are done because of safety issues or to better the organization. And I think it’s important that if a judge is making those recommendations they should really follow through with them,” she said.
MacInnis-Wynn attempted to get a law passed to require prosecutors to attend bail hearings and reveal the applicant’s criminal history. While the first objective has been achieved, she said the second is still unfulfilled.
“There still is that loophole,” she said. “It’s not mandatory for officers or prosecutors to bring all that information forward.
“I think it’s something they do have to address.”
MacInnis-Wynn said it’s been a long road for her and her family. She is raising three boys, now 17, 19 and 20.
She credits help from a group called Camp FACES, which assists first-responder families suffering from sudden trauma, with making a big difference.
“They are absolutely amazing and have been a huge support for myself and my family.”
MacInnis-Wynn said it was at Camp FACES that the whole family learned a vital lesson.
“Seeing the families who have children who are much, much younger who have lost their fathers or their mothers, I’m thankful (my sons) got to spend a lot of time and have a lot of memories of their dad,” she said.
“As I see all of these families, I truly am thankful that they did have the time they did with him.”