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nnsl photo

Rose and Barney Tootoo of Rankin Inlet are heading to Roanoke, Va., this week to take part in a ceremony to retire the jersey of their son, Terence, (seen in picture held by parents) by the Roanoke Express of the East Coast Hockey League. Terence committed suicide on Aug. 28. - Darrell Greer/NNSL photo

Still searching for closure

Tootoos travel to Roanoke while awaiting police ruling

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services

Rankin Inlet (Oct 16/02) - It's been another emotional month for the family of Rose and Barney Tootoo in Rankin Inlet.

The family received word about two weeks ago that two officers could be facing dismissal from the Brandon Police Service in connection with the death of their son, Terence Tootoo.

An internal investigation concluded the two officers violated procedure by dropping Terence off alone at his temporary residence on the night of Aug. 28, after charging him with impaired driving.

Tootoo should have been released to a responsible adult.

His body was found the next day with a 12-gauge shotgun by its side.

The outcome of an internal disciplinary hearing will be released after Oct. 25.

The officers face anything from a verbal reprimand to outright dismissal.

Rose says the decision brings some closure to her son's death, but the family is still deeply troubled by the way the officers handled the situation that night.

"I'm not going to hold back on how I feel," says Rose, "I hope they lose their jobs.

"Terence took his own life, yes, but if those guys had kept him overnight at the station instead of just dropping him off things would have been different."

The Tootoos also received word this month that Terence's former team, the Roanoke Express of the East Coast Hockey League, are flying Rose, Barney, their son, Jordin, and daughter, Corinne, to Virginia this week for a special ceremony.

The team is retiring Terence's number during its home opener.

"First they suggested just bringing Jordin, but we didn't want to risk him totally falling apart on his own there for a ceremony like that.

"The team agreed and decided to pay for the entire family to go down."

SportsNet will be on hand to film the ceremony for one of the network's upcoming specials.

Rose says the family hopes the affection Roanoke fans will display for Terence at the ceremony will help them in dealing with his death.

"Barney was having a very hard time there for awhile, but I think he's a bit stronger now than I am.

"It's still so hard to walk into the room we have up stairs of Terence and Jordin's memorabilia.

"You go in that room, surrounded by all his stuff, and it's so hard to believe he's really gone."