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It’s not the kind of thing anyone wants to see in their neighbourhood.

An impromptu shrine memorializing two (2) young children who met a horrible fate in a middle class, peaceful, suburban community.  Cards, flowers and Teddy Bears are starting to amass on the boulevard just outside the reaches of the yellow Police tape cordoning off the crime scene at #3 Coleridge Park Drive in Westwood.

Speculation now abounds regarding the whereabouts of Lisa Gibson (32), the mother of the two deceased children who are believed to have died as a result of intentional drownings.  The children’s father, Brian Gibson is believed to have been at work at the time of the tragic incident.


The family residence is but a stones throw from nearby Benjaminson Park, a riverside green space that offers scenic views and easy access to the fast flowing waters of the Assiniboine River.  That easy access obviously concerns Police who have expanded the crime scene to include access points to the park.  Other reports indicate the WPS Harbour Master and Dive Time have been patrolling the river banks as part of the investigation.

It’s not a hard scenario to imagine.

(When Allyson McConnell drowned her two young sons she subsequently jumped off a busy freeway bridge in an apparent suicide attempt.)

Few people could imagine living with themselves after committing such a heinous criminal act.

The question remains, did Lisa Gibson take a plunge into the frigid, fast flowing waters of the Assiniboine River, or is she being harboured by someone intent on providing her refuge until she finds the courage to face a Police interrogation.  Either way, the case will have a tragic outcome.

My true sympathy is reserved for the man in the middle of all this who now struggles to cope with an unquantifiable loss.  Lest we forget, when Brian Gibson left for work on Wednesday morning, he was a husband and father of two beautiful children.  The utopian life he once led has now been forever altered.

As I stood by the yellow tape, I engaged in a casual conversation with an inquisitive journalist who asked me how Police Officers cope with attending such disturbing crime scenes.  I was grateful for the conversation and the opportunity to provide her with the unadulterated truth, “We don’t cope with it,” I replied, “We just live with it.”  “I vividly recall every horrific crime scene I witnessed during my service as a front line Police Officer and later, as a Homicide Detective,” I explained.

Every tragic accident scene, suicide, senseless killing, decapitation, disembowelment and dismemberment.  It never leaves you, I assured her.  The good news is Police Organizations are starting to figure out you can’t expose human beings to these horrific incidents and simply expect them to suck it up as a hazard of the job.  Police Organizations are starting to realize the need for mental health protocol (s) to address the needs of the men and women we expose to these types of events.

As the conversation wound down, I heard a familiar sound in the distance.

“Do you know what that is?” I asked a young camera man standing nearby.  “I’m not sure,” he replied.  I told him it was a sound only heard during the dog days of summer in Winnipeg.  It was the sound of an ice cream truck, speaker blaring to alert neighbourhood children to rob their piggy banks to buy their favourite summer time treat.  The same sound that whipped my young daughters into a near frenzy as they ran for the front door with great anticipation and change in hand.

As the truck neared, I was struck by the sadness of two little children who once lived at #3 Coleridge Park Drive who would never get a chance to experience that excitement.


Things like this just shouldn’t happen.


  1. James G Jewell

    Absolutely, appreciate your comments, thank you!

  2. James G Jewell

    I appreciate your comments, thank you!

  3. And thank you to both of you for your service. My husband is active duty in the US Army, and I’m sure the experiences can be somewhat the same. Thanks again.

  4. Daughter of Officer

    I am the daughter of a (retired) Officer and come from a long line of Officers in my family, and I must tell you all that I have the utmost respect for everything you do and see every single day out there. People really don’t realize what you are subjected to on a daily basis. This story is a prime example. It is a sad and tragic occurence and my heart goes out to all involved.

  5. James G Jewell


    Thank you for so eloquently sharing your feelings and offering your support to your brother and sister officers, much appreciated.

  6. James G Jewell

    It’s a very difficult thing to explain to people who haven’t had to experience something like this.

    My thoughts and concern as always, is centered on the men and women who had a job to do and did it despite the tragic and disturbing nature of the call.

    Appreciate your comments, be well.

  7. James G Jewell

    I fully agree with your comments.

    Education is a big part of the issue, the other part is mental health and the stigma around these kinds of issues. Mental health issues seem to continue to be “dirty secrets” people continue to try and keep. We need to break down those barriers…..thanks for your comments.

  8. I echo these thoughts and sentiments of the author of this passage. I am a mother, a wife and a police officer. We see things we could never imagine; things man kind were never meant to witness. Things so disturbing that if we let it penetrate, we would be a basket case. Like James Jewell so poignantly wrote, we live with it and we have to keep it together for those around us who can’t. What do we do with this when we go home to our families and try to be normal when what we’ve just experience has traumatized our soul. I can’t answer that but I have had to for 13 years.

    I feel deeply saddened for everyone touched by this horrific event. I cannot allow myself to think too much about what it would have been like to be at the scene yesterday and I am thankful I wasn’t.

    I am reminded of the sacrifice, love and trust I have for all my fellow men and woman on the job-how my life depends on them. I am also reminded of how thankful I am to come home to my children and husband and know that they are loved and safe.

    I pray for healing for Mr. Gibson and family and may the community rally around them at this devastating time.

    Thank you James Jewell for your truth and insight.

  9. But things like this DO happen, because people are not adequately educated on post partum depression and/or psychosis. It’s horrific, and awful, yes, and it is also a reality. Families should be better prepared and educated on mental health

  10. Without a doubt, the worst call I have attended in my 9+ years on the job! The images of what I saw in that house will forever be etched in my brain, as I am certain you have your own internal scrapbook of nightmares! It does however, pale in comparison to what the father of those two Angels is/will deal with in the coming days/weeks/years.

    As always, fine sir, you have struck the nail directly about the head!

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