Davin Cochrane is breathing on his own now after doctors at Victoria General Hospital removed his trachea tube this week.
And for the first time since he was shot by a Duncan RCMP officer on the evening of March 28, his wife Sarah Annie Brown has reason to hope.
“It sounds like maybe I can breathe now,” she said from their home in Ladysmith.
No one knows why Cochrane was driving a track loader skid-steer along residential streets in Duncan and refused to stop for police. Gunshots rang out and Cochrane was shot twice in the head. He was raced to hospital, where he was sedated and placed in an induced coma.
The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the shooting.
Cochrane regained consciousness a few weeks ago, said Brown.
“He knows who we are, so that makes me happy because I didn’t know what to expect. I had a lot of fear and I still do. But I think I can breathe, finally. I think he’s over the scary part and I hope he makes a good recovery — whatever that looks like,” she said.
“He knows that he loves me. I feel that. I know that.”
Cochrane, 32, is able to have short conversations. He is sitting up and standing on his own. On Wednesday, he started semi-solid food and will soon be moved to the neurology unit where the hard work of rehabilitation will start. The doctors aren’t sure how long his recovery will take and how much progress he will make, said Brown.
“They don’t know because he’s already doing everything they didn’t think he could do. And he has age on his side.”
Brown is planning to bring in photographs and card games, like Uno and Go Fish, during their next hospital visits.
“I’ve been trying to educate myself about head injuries. This is only the beginning. He has a long road ahead of him.”
Earlier this week, the couple met with a lawyer at the hospital and Brown said they are planning to launch a personal injury claim against the RCMP and Cowichan District Hospital.
After the shooting, Brown learned that her husband had been in a serious car crash in Chemainus earlier that day. She was told he was taken to hospital and given a narcotic, then simply walked away. She wasn’t contacted by anyone at the hospital.
The couple have a four-month-old baby girl, Mylah, and Cochrane has taken on Brown’s children, Preston, 11, and six-year-old Willow, as his own.
Willow’s therapist suggested the little girl might feel better if she wrote a letter to the police officer who shot her father, said Brown.
“So she wrote this letter. It took her about an hour. I was going to fake-mail it, but when we were driving through Duncan, she said: ‘Mom, are you going to stop, please.’ And I said: ‘OK, baby, whatever makes you feel better.’ ”
They stopped at the RCMP detachment and the six-year-old delivered her letter. A sergeant read it and came out and talked to her.
“He was actually really nice. He said ‘Sorry. I’m sure you have a lot more to say.’ Willow was really shy at first. After that, she said to the sergeant: ‘You know what, I think I’ll still be a cop. But I’ll be a good one.’ ”