One day before he took an ex-girlfriend and her family hostage, detonated a Dufferin house and killed himself, 48-year-old Denann Crosby was urged by a mental health counsellor to check himself into hospital.
Unbeknownst to the counsellor, Crosby had experimented with homemade bombs in the weeks before his crime and made at least 15 roundtrips to Kamloops from the Lower Mainland over the course of a month.
B.C. coroner Kelly Barnard issued her report on Tuesday into the downward spiral of the man that culminated in violence while traumatizing a young family on May 17, 2012.
In her report, Barnard describes Crosby as an electrician living in the Lower Mainland who had “periodic episodes” of substance abuse and emotional problems.
He had quit drinking alcohol in April 2011 when he met a co-worker, 43-year-old Sherry Young. The friendship developed into a romantic relationship that didn’t last long.
Young ended the relationship on Jan. 1, 2012. In response, Crosby took an overdose of acetaminophen and alcohol, landing in hospital the following day.
His doctor didn’t consider Crosby suicidal, according to the coroner’s report, and diagnosed him as suffering from situational anxiety. He was prescribed the anti-depressant Trazadone.
Crosby started drinking again but during a Jan. 28 check-up, his doctor noted that he seemed improved.
However throughout January and February, Young filed complaints of harassment with the RCMP over unwanted messages from Crosby.
Crosby told police he would end contact.
On April 17, Crosby saw a different doctor who suggested his Trazadone be tapered off and replaced with a new prescription called Escitalopram.
During a follow-up appointment a few weeks later while on both medications, his doctor noted he appeared upset over “interpersonal issues.”
Crosby was again diagnosed as suffering from situational anxiety and referred to counselling. He also tried to contact Young again, who warned him she would call police.
Things got worse from then on.
“In the first half of May,” states the report, “persons near Mr. Crosby noticed what they saw as a marked deterioration in his emotional state and behaviour. He was seen to be panicky and on May 15, lost his job.”
On May 16, he met with a counsellor who said Crosby showed no sign of psychosis or illness that would allow forcible admittance to hospital, so the counsellor urged Crosby to check in voluntarily.
Crosby refused, saying he was seeing his doctor the following day and would see the counsellor the following week. He also told the counsellor he was going to Kamloops “to take care of some business,” according to the report.
On May 17 at about 5:15 p.m., Young returned to her Dufferin home with her four children, her boyfriend and his two children.
Crosby held a gun to the group and forced them into the house, shooting the gun into the ceiling at one point.
Everyone but Young was eventually able to escape.
During ensuing negotiations with police, Crosby said he wasn’t on drugs or alcohol.
He said he had strapped explosives on himself and that his car was also wired to blow up.
He’d been driving around with explosives in his car for a month.
Shortly after midnight, Crosby let Young go and about five minutes later, detonated the explosives he was carrying. He was found dead in the ruins of the house.
A toxicology exam was impossible to conduct, stated the coroner.
After Crosby’s death, police found notes on him and in his residence that implied his suicidal notions. Through the writings, they found out that he’d tested homemade bombs and repeatedly travelled to Kamloops in the weeks previous to the hostage taking.
Barnard classified the death as a suicide, citing situational anxiety as a contributing factor.