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Man driving heavy equipment shot by police during chase in Duncan

Video posted on social media shows at least four RCMP vehicles trying to stop a skid-steer loader, which weaved around parked cars and went up onto a sidewalk.
A tracked skid-steer loader sits on a residential street in Duncan on Wednesday, March 29, 2023. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

A 31-year-old father is in the intensive care unit of a Victoria hospital after being chased and shot by police while driving a piece of heavy equipment on residential streets in Duncan Tuesday night.

In a Facebook post, Sarah Annie Brown identified the man driving the tracked skid-steer loader as her fiancé Davin Cochrane.
“This was my fiancé and our newborn daughter’s dad … he was shot at twice in the head and it didn’t need to go that way,” Brown wrote in a post Wednesday morning.

Brown added that she learned Cochrane had been in a car collision earlier that day and needed surgery, but had left hospital.

“He’s not a violent man and has been doing amazing in life something mentally clearly [took] place … just want some answers cause this isn’t him trust me,” said Brown. She asked people to send her videos of the incident.

On Wednesday afternoon, Cochrane’s father Michael said he had been driving from northern Alberta since 2 a.m. to see his son in hospital.

“I just want to focus on driving so I don’t get in an accident, so I can continue driving as fast as I can to see my son,” he said. “He’s a beautiful kid.”

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the shooting. The watchdog investigates all police-involved shootings and incidents of serious harm.

The RCMP said in a statement that North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP received a report of a man who appeared impaired driving a track loader skid-steer down a residential street. The officers tried 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,” said the statement.

Around 9:20 p.m. Tuesday, a couple who live in the neighbourhood were putting their children to bed when they heard police vehicles and what sounded like machinery coming down their street. The woman, who does not want to be identified, went on the deck to see what was going on.

“I was just confused so I pulled up the security cameras to see what was happening,” she said.

Through a loudspeaker, police were saying: “Slow down. Stop the vehicle. Stop the vehicle.”

“And we didn’t see a vehicle and all of a sudden, there’s this backhoe,” she said. “Oh my gosh, this is the craziest thing I’ve ever seen. This never happens in this neighbourhood. And of all things, it’s not a vehicle, it’s a piece of machinery.”

The driver didn’t stop. He just continued on, she said.

One officer jetted ahead, then turned around at the end of Hawkes Boulevard to try to cut off the machinery driver. But the driver continued around the police.

“He almost hit my husband’s vehicle and then continued onward and then went around and up Parkside. That’s when police started hitting the back end of his vehicle.”

As the slow chase continued from Parkside Place to Glacier Street, there was “a very loud bang, like a collision of some kind” she said.

“And I do know that they have tape up now. I’m assuming there was something that happened there. But then he continued onward to Somenos. I have videos of him going up on the sidewalk and going around. The police rammed him again as he went into Evans ball park.”

Then suddenly she and her husband heard the gunshots and saw people scurry.

“It turned so fast. We were so surprised because there wasn’t anything beforehand from what we had seen. It didn’t look like an all-of-a-sudden situation for pop pop pop pop pop pop, right?”

Their children also heard the gunshots and were freaked out, she said.

“They were terrified. It was a rough night last night. They were afraid to sleep by ­themselves. They refused to walk to school by themselves this morning. We had to drive them. They didn’t want to walk home, even though we assured them there was nothing to worry about.”

When she came home for lunch Wednesday, local streets were still taped off and a number of big black SUVs were all around the neighbourhood.