Coroner told Hughes died of blood loss


Massive blood loss from gunshot wounds caused the death of Jeffrey Scott Hughes, a coroner’s inquest into his death heard Thursday.

Police were responding to a noise complaint at Hughes’s apartment on Selby Street on Oct. 23, 2009 when, according to RCMP testimony, he threatened officers, then emerged from his apartment with what officers believed at the time was a gun and was subsequently shot. It was later determined Hughes’s weapon was a flare gun.

The inquest started Monday in B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo.

Forensic pathologist David Charlesworth, who was unable to attend, detailed his findings in a taped video recording played for Coroner Marj Paonessa and the seven-member jury.

Charlesworth determined that Hughes was shot three times.

One bullet entered the back of his right arm, then went through his chest, hitting the abdominal aorta – the largest blood vessel in the body – as well as the liver and various parts of the intestine.

Another bullet entered the back of the leg just below the buttocks, striking the right femoral artery. A third bullet went through his heel.

Charlesworth was unable to determine the order Hughes received these injuries, but both he and paramedic Terry Jensen, who also took the stand Thursday, said Hughes’s injuries were likely fatal even if he had received immediate medical attention.

Jensen declared Hughes dead at 7:35 a.m., but he believes he was dead “quite a long time” prior to this. Calls of shots fired were heard over police radio around 7 a.m.

Others who took the stand Wednesday and Thursday revealed further details about Hughes’s mental state around the time of the shooting.

Dr. Keith Phillips, Hughes’s family physician, said Wednesday that Hughes suffered from borderline personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder and chemical dependency, and he also had Hepatitis C, contracted from intravenous drug use in his youth.

When he first heard of Hughes’s death, Phillips said he wasn’t surprised and believed it was “inevitable” that Hughes died in such a tragic way because of his mental illnesses, one of which prevented him from accepting help for the other.

Phillips said he was skeptical of the ability of any health professional to help Hughes, who had a history of violence, including assaults and bomb threats.

Cathy Booler, administrative director at the Georgia Strait Alliance, noticed a downturn in Hughes’s behaviour shortly before the time he was shot.

Hughes helped out with computer work, mail-outs and bingo hall duties at the alliance for about 10 years, and while he was always professional and friendly at the office, she described him as a person in a lot of turmoil and pain.

She said Hughes told her shortly before his death that he couldn’t stand where he was living and that he needed to get out of that building and out of Nanaimo.

He also told her not to worry about him if he didn’t show up for a while because if he wanted to end his life, he would go out in a “blaze of bullets”.

Thursday’s testimony at the inquest included two more RCMP officers who fired shots at Hughes during the Selby Street confrontation. Two others who fired shots testified Tuesday.

Const. Heather Cook told the courtroom she was cornered in a fenced-in area at the front of the apartment building when Hughes came into her vision in what she described as a shooting stance. Just moments before she had heard “a large volume of gunshots” when Hughes was not within sight and was afraid one of her colleagues had been shot.

Cook yelled for Hughes to drop his gun and fired two shots at him when he turned toward her without complying. She fired another two shots at him when he turned to face other officers.

Cpl. Paul McIntosh said he decided to confront Hughes as he was walking up the apartment driveway toward Selby Street – where other officers were positioned to create a perimeter around the area – because he was worried that if Hughes made it out to the street with his weapon, there would be a potential crossfire situation.





Just Posted

(PQB News file photo)
Fireworks report highlights enforcement challenges for Regional District of Nanaimo

Director: ‘I just think it’s wasting everybody’s time’

An event on the lawn of the B.C. legislature in Victoria on Tuesday to remember the 215 children whose remains were confirmed buried in unmarked graves outside a Kamloops residential school. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Canada’s racist systems cannot ever be forgiven

Teen letter writer from Nunavut calls for truth and reconciliation

Nanaimo is the first city in Canada to subscribe to the Chonolog environment photo-monitoring system, which allow residents to contribute photos of habitat restoration projects that are converted to time lapse sequences showing environmental changes. (Chris Bush/ News Bulletin)
Nanaimo residents invited to be citizen scientists by sharing habitat restoration photos

Nanaimo first city in Canada to sign up for Chronolog environment photo monitoring service

Regional District of Nanaimo is seeking input from the public for its transit redevelopment strategy. (News Bulletin file)
Public input sought as RDN works on transit redevelopment strategy

RDN wants to know where people want bus stops, shelters and pedestrian and cycling connections

Douglas Holmes, current Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District chief administrative officer, is set to take on that position at the Regional District of Nanaimo come late August. (Submitted photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo’s next CAO keen to work on building partnerships

Douglas Holmes to take over top administrator role with RDN this summer

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps near Nanaimo

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

Stuffed toys, many with donations pinned to them, are piled in the Lions Pavilion at Maffeo Sutton Park at a vigil May 31 honouring the 215 Indigenous children whose remains were discovered outside a residential school in Kamloops. (News Bulletin file photo)
Thousands donated to child and family service agency following Nanaimo vigil

Toys and money donated to Kw’umut Lelum child and family services

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

Most Read