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RCMP should address radio issues: Wynn fatality inquiry

A fatality inquiry report into the death of Const. David Wynn concludes the RCMP should take steps to address radio communications issues.
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Const. David Wynn was shot at the Apex Casino in St. Albert in January 2015 by Shawn Rehn. Wynn died in the hospital several days later. A fatality inquiry report into the death of Const. David Wynn concludes the RCMP should take steps to address radio communications issues. SUPPLIED PHOTO

A fatality inquiry report on the death of St. Albert Const. David Wynn concludes the RCMP should take steps to address radio communications issues.

The report from the fatality hearing, which was held in April 2019, found the RCMP also needs to implement its new model for involvement of auxiliary RCMP constables.

Const. David Wynn and Auxiliary Const. Derek Bond, as well as another constable, were in the parking lot of St. Albert's Apex Casino in the early hours of Jan. 17, 2015, when they noticed a stolen truck. Wynn and Bond went into the casino to try to locate the vehicle's driver, according to facts read out in court during the inquiry.

After a short search, Bond, Wynn and Shawn Rehn – the driver of the stolen truck – ended up near the front desk together.

Rehn fled through the casino with Wynn and Bond in pursuit. The duo caught Rehn, and after a brief struggle Rehn shot Bond in the torso and arm. He shot Wynn at close range in the head.

Wynn, 42, died Jan. 21, 2015, of the gunshot wound; Bond survived. Rehn fled the scene and later died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

After the incident, the province undertook a review of the bail system, as Rehn was out on bail at the time of the shooting.

Radio silence

During the fatality inquiry, the court heard there was no radio communications inside the casino and it was one of many radio dead zones in St. Albert.

The fatality inquiry report, written by provincial court judge Bruce Garriock, stated even if the radios were working in the casino, the shooting happened so quickly it wouldn’t have been possible for Wynn to call for backup.

“While I agree that the situation developed far too quickly for Wynn to utilize his radio to call for backup after his encounter with Rehn, I note from the Agreed Statement of Facts that Bond was asked to go into the Casino to check on Wynn because Caissie (another RCMP officer) was aware that portable radios did not function well inside the Casino. This, in turn, resulted in Bond performing operational duties outside of his authority as an auxiliary Constable,” Garriock wrote.

Bond, who was a volunteer, was unarmed.

Since the incident, the St. Albert RCMP has taken steps to increase safety in dead zones by having its members use cell phones and requiring response from multiple members to locations known to have radio issues.

“Further, the RCMP has developed a new model consisting of multiple tiers of potential involvement of auxiliary constables,” Garriock wrote.

Auxiliary constables were not supposed to be used in an operational role, but John Bennett, the RCMP member who conducted a review of the incident that led to Wynn's death, testified at the inquiry that changing that action was “unlikely to have changed the tragic sequence of events” that unfolded that night.

Since the incident, the role of auxiliary constables have been reviewed across Canada and new standards have been put in place for them.

The RCMP is also updating its radio communications system across the province, which would double the amount of radio towers in the province, but it is not known if the new system has been tested for dead zones in St. Albert or if it will work inside the former Apex Casino, now known as Century Casino in Campbell Park.

Bail

Bail rules were found to be a big issue surrounding Wynn's death, as Rehn had a lengthy criminal record, and many changes were made to the bail system before the fatality inquiry was held.

Edmonton Police Services Const. Wilson Quan testified in 2019 that he was the police officer who acted as the Crown at the bail hearing and said he originally did not want Rehn released. Police officers no longer act on behalf of the Crown in bail hearings across the province, one of a slew of changes to the bail system that have happened since Wynn's death.

Garriock said Quan was experienced and acted “in accordance with his training and the resources available to him at the time.”

After talking to Rehn’s lawyer, who said Rehn was turning his life around, Quan agreed to release Rehn on a joint submission.

Rehn was released on $4,500 bail with conditions. Quan knew it would take Rehn a while to pay the bail money and was comfortable knowing he would be in custody until his next appearance in two weeks.


Jennifer Henderson, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

About the Author: Jennifer Henderson, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Jennifer Henderson is the Local Journalism Initiative reporter for Great West Newspapers based in St. Albert, Alta.
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