Canadian border guard shot in booth at B.C. crossing
Published Tuesday, October 16, 2012 5:24PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, October 16, 2012 11:58PM EDT
A lone gunman entering Canada from the U.S. shot a Canadian border officer inside her booth at a B.C. crossing point Tuesday before turning his gun on himself, RCMP said.
Surrey RCMP Cpl. Bert Paquet said the officer was airlifted to hospital and “was breathing at the time,” but her condition was not known. He said it appeared she had been shot in the neck.
Officers responded to a 911 call from a witness at 2 p.m., and found the border officer wounded and the gunman dead at the Douglas Border Crossing in Surrey.
“In the incident following the shooting of the officer, the lone male was pronounced dead at the scene from what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound,” Paquet told reporters.
The RCMP’s Integrated Homicide Investigation Team has taken over the investigation, according to Sgt. Jennifer Pound, because the case involves an attempted murder.
Little was known about the identity of the gunman, other than he was in a van bearing Washington licence plates. Paquet said it was not yet clear whether the gunman was the owner of the vehicle. A witness at the scene told CTV it appeared there was a mattress in the back of the van.
Although the shooting happened at the border, Paquet said Canadian authorities have taken the lead in piecing together witness testimony and surveillance footage to determine exactly what happened between the time the man arrived at the crossing point and the shooting.
Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews released a statement saying he was “deeply concerned” by the shooting.
“This event is a sobering reminder of the dangerous conditions faced daily by the men and women of our law enforcement agencies as they work to protect the safety and security of Canadians,” he said.
The Surrey RCMP deployed all available victim services staff to talk to border guards and others who witnessed the shooting, Paquet said.
While those who were caught at the border at the time of the shooting were being allowed to continue on their way Tuesday evening, the border crossing was expected to remain closed for at least several hours. The Canada Border Services Agency advised travellers to divert to the Pacific Highway or Aldergrove Crossing.
The Douglas Border Crossing, also known as the Peace Arch border, is the third busiest U.S.-Canada crossing point.
About 4,800 vehicles pass through the crossing during peak periods, with delays up to four hours on either side.
With files from The Canadian Press