Woman injured in fatal police-related shooting glad officer has been charged

A woman who was shot in the head by an RCMP officer during a traffic stop that killed her boyfriend says she's happy the officer involved has been charged.

Steven Campbell — Lori Flett's boyfriend and the father of her four-year-old daughter — was shot by a police officer in Thompson, Man. on Nov. 21, 2015.

On Thursday, Manitoba's Independent Investigation Unit announced that following its investigation, Const. Abram Letkeman has been charged with six offences in relation to the shooting, including manslaughter.

"I was glad and happy that he's been charged, because of all the damage he caused," said Flett, who is now 27. "It's great news, I guess. It's good news for me."

Campbell, 39, was shot and killed after a police chase involving the vehicle he was driving. Flett was also shot during the incident.

"I don't remember much, but I will never forget the sound of the gun shooting at the vehicle," said Flett.

Flett said the night of the shooting she was out celebrating her birthday with Campbell, two of her brothers and a friend. She said they were driving to Campbell's home when police pulled them over. 

In the days after the shooting, RCMP said in a press release that Campbell had been spotted driving erratically and stopped after a brief chase. They said Campbell accelerated and hit the officer who was walking towards the car, and the officer fired.

Flett said her boyfriend did drive away, but didn't hit the officer. She said the police vehicle rammed the car she was in.

"The police officer hit [our] vehicle and it fractured my pelvis," she said.

Letkeman is also charged with dangerous driving causing bodily harm. 

"All of us were sitting in the vehicle and the vehicle was stopped and the officer was shooting away," Flett said.

"Everybody was down and had our hands up or whatnot … we didn't refuse, we just lay, we had our heads down while he was shooting."

Flett said she was sitting in the back passenger seat when a bullet hit her in the left ear.

"The small bone in the ear saved my life," she said. "When the bullet hit the bone, the bullet scattered."

Flett underwent major surgery in Winnipeg. She said her skull was opened up so doctors could remove the bullet fragments.

"They left some in my head because some [pieces were] near my brain," she said.

Flett underwent a second surgery two weeks ago. She said doctors took nerves from her leg and put them in the left side of her face to give her back some facial movement.

She said she still has dizzy spells, and will never regain hearing in her left ear. 

While she doesn't have a full memory of the shooting, she said her brother, who was sitting in the front seat next to Campbell, is haunted by that night.

Flett and Campbell dated for four years and had a daughter named Sierra. Flett said their now four-year-old daughter is too young to understand what happened.

The Chief Medical Examiner's Office called an inquest into Campbell's death in August 2016.

Letkeman has been released on bail and is due in a Thompson court on March 31.