Reg. # 20598, Cst. David Brian ROBINSON
February 2, 1965, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Age: 25 years
Cst. ROBINSON was born on June 5, 1939 at Geraldton, Ontario to David and Ethel ROBINSON. His siblings were brother, Terrance Edward and sister, Patricia Gail.
He was in Army Cadets during the summers of 1954 / 55. He graduated Grade XII at Port Arthur, Ontario and completed a two year diploma in Forest Technology at Sarnia, Ontario. He was engaged in the Force at Winnipeg, Manitoba on June 16, Upon completion of Basic Recruit Training at Depot Division, he was posted to Prince Albert, Saskatchewan on May 8, 1959. He was transferred to Melfort Detachment on December 10, 1959 and Wakaw Detachment on May 16, 1960. He was transferred to Prince Albert Highway Patrol on May 6, 1961. On May 21, 1961, Cst. ROBINSON married Elsie May WILL. On April 28, 1962, son, James Darryl was born at Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. On June 29, 1964, he was transferred to Humboldt Detachment as i/c Highway Patrol.
In February 1965, he was happily working on highway patrol at Humboldt, Saskatchewan. It was work he knew and liked. His home life was good too; he and his wife, Elsie, had a two year old son and were looking forward to the birth of their second child, sometime late in August 1965.
The accident that killed him was truly tragic. On Wednesday, January 27, he and Csts. Louis COTTINI and Terry LEVEREAU were in the living quarters of the Humboldt Detachment. They were getting ready for a detachment inspection by the officer in charge of Saskatoon Sub-division. Cst. COTTINI was in the process of cleaning his revolver for presentation at that inspection. Cst. LAVEREAU’s revolver had already been inspected and he was preparing to go out on patrol. LAVEREAU was wearing his Sam Browne belt and his gun, which was loaded with five rounds and was properly holstered. While Cst. COTTINI was cleaning his revolver, Cst. LAVEREAU decided to polish his gun and took it from his holster. Without removing the live rounds in the cylinder or breaking the revolver, he rubbed he gun with a piece of cloth in his left hand while holding it in his right. Around 12:30 pm, Cst. ROBINSON came into the room. He stood at the foot of LAVEREAU’s bed and started to clean his own revolver. As they worked away, the three men exchanged some small talk and then, suddenly, LAVEREAU’s gun went off and hit ROBINSON in the chest.
To this day, no one knows what happened, including Cst. LAVEREAU, who has lived that terrible moment over in his mind a million times. Was it the firing mechanism that was defective or did a piece of cloth catch on the trigger or did LAVEREAU’s finger inadvertently touch the trigger?
Immediately, a doctor was summoned. He ordered that Cst. ROBINSON be taken to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Humboldt. When the constable arrived there, he was in great pain and extreme shock. X-rays revealed that the bullet had hit the edge of the liver. His blood pressure was very low and a series of blood transfusions didn’t stabilize it. Obviously bleeding internally, ROBINSON was taken into surgery to stop the hemorrhaging. In the five hours from the time of his admission to hospital until his transfer to the recovery room, ROBINSON received 11 pints of blood.
He clung to life for four days. Then on Monday, February 1, he took a turn for the worse, and was flown by RCAF ambulance to University Hospital in Saskatoon. The next morning he weakened more and began experiencing difficulties with his lungs and heart. At one point he required “open chest heart massage” to restore normal breathing. Not long after, and despite the continuing efforts of the hospital’s medical team, Cst. ROBINSON died of cardiac arrest on February 2, 1965.
An inquest found his death to be “ . . . a result of complications arising from injuries received from a gun shot wound inflicted at Humboldt on January 27th . . .” No blame was attached to their findings. After an initial investigation, the RCMP ruled that Cst. ROBINSON’s death was accidental and no disciplinary action would be exercised against Cst. LAVEREAU.
Following a short service at the Presbyterian Church in Humboldt, a funeral service for Cst. ROBINSON was held at Depot Division in Regina. After the service, his body was carried from the historic old chapel and buried in the RCMP Cemetery on the grounds.
Seven months later, two significant events occurred that relate to this case. On August 21, 1965, ROBINSON’s wife, Elsie, gave birth to their second child, Darcy Wayne at Nipawin, Saskatchewan. That same month, Terry LAVEREAU purchased his discharge from the RCMP.
(Personnel File reviewed – Photo available)