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B.C. man in ICU, shot twice in the head after police chase involving stolen mini-loader

Davin Cochrane, 31, was admitted to the intensive care unit of a Victoria hospital

The fiancée of a distressed man is questioning how her partner ended up shot twice in the head by North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP on Tuesday night.

Davin Cochrane, 31, was admitted to the intensive care unit of a Victoria hospital clinging to life following a bizarre incident involving a skid steer he allegedly stole and drove recklessly around a North Cowichan neighbourhood Tuesday, March 28.

Sarah Annie Brown said authorities haven’t told her much except that her fiancé had reportedly been in a car accident earlier in the day and was due for surgery at Cowichan District Hospital but that somehow he had managed to leave the hospital and acquire the construction machine.

“I don’t understand what was going through his head,” Brown said Wednesday morning. “It’s not a normal person thing to do.”

Ashara Prokop watched some of the incident unfold from her front window.

“We just were sitting on the couch when we heard a large bobcat go by our road with the bucket scraping the road then saw a cop with his lights on go after him followed by the police truck,” said Prokop.

Witnesses reported no fewer than five police vehicles attempting to stop the skid steer machine in the Somenos Road, Glacier Street, Hawkes Bouvelard and Evans Park areas.

“We heard six shots fired,” Prokop said. “It was shocking to hear.”

Brown said she’s been told officers fired six shots, with two of them hitting Cochrane’s head.

“He’s on life support,” Brown said. “They had to remove a large part of his brain to stop the bleeding.”

Police said the incident occured around 9:15 p.m. March 28 when “RCMP received a report of a man who appeared impaired driving a track loader skid-steer down a residential street”.

BC RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Alex Bérubé said “officers attended and attempted to get the driver to stop, but there were collisions between the loader and police vehicles.

“During the interaction that followed, one officer discharged their weapon striking the driver. Emergency Health Services were called and the man was transported to hospital with serious injuries.”

An independent investigation will take place.

“The IIO has commenced an investigation, and initial investigative steps will seek to confirm the details of the interaction between the man and police,” said a press release issued by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C.

The IIO is the independent civilian oversight agency of the police in B.C. It investigates all officer-related incidents that result in serious harm or death, whether or not there is any allegation of wrongdoing.

“The IIO is asking any person with relevant information or dashcam or other video footage of the incident to please contact the Witness Line toll-free at 1-855-446-8477 or via the contact form on the website.”

Brown said she doesn’t understand why things went so wrong. She said she’d last heard from Cochrane on March 27 on the anniversary of them losing a baby and his grandmother. He had been struggling mentally and had left the couple’s home to stay with his sister for a while so he could keep his mental health battle away from the kids in their home.

“He was extremely upset and definitely going through something,” Brown said. “He does have some mental heath issues. He was not acting like himself,” she continued. “He wasn’t in the right state of mind at all. I don’t know if he relapsed, he’d been doing extremely well for three years. He was acting really strange.”

Brown wondered if the medication he was given following his crash earlier in the day had interacted with his other medications.

“He was acting erratic,” she said. “They gave him ketamine. He got out somehow. I don’t even know how he left the hospital in that state.”

She also wondered by nobody called her when he was taken to the hospital following the accident earlier in the day.

“I would have gone. I could have been there.”

Instead of being at CDH in a surgical ward following a car accident, Brown is in a Victoria hospital praying her fiancé will survive being shot.

“He has a history [with police],” she said.

“I don’t know if they judged him because of his history. Why couldn’t they have tried something else?”

Cochrane’s 32nd birthday is about a week away and the pair had been looking forward to their future with their 10-week-old daughter and the rest of the kids.

“All he ever wanted to do was have a child so it seemed really odd what he was doing,” she said. “He’s an amazing dad. He’s all about the kids. None of it makes sense. I don’t have any answers.”

Davin Cochrane, 31, was shot by police in North Cowichan on Tuesday, March 28, 2023. (Facebook photo)