Canadian border officer shot without warning: CBSA president
Published Friday, October 19, 2012 10:20AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, October 19, 2012 10:24PM EDT
The Canadian border guard who was shot in the neck at a B.C. crossing point this week had “no chance and no warning” to react before the shooter fired at her, the president of the Canadian Border Services Agency said Friday.
In an exclusive interview with CTV News Channel’s Mercedes Stephenson, Luc Portelance said the gunman fired at border officer Lori Bowcock as soon as he pulled up to her booth at the Douglas Border Crossing, which links Surrey, B.C. and Blaine, Wash.
“It happened very quickly,” said Portelance, who has reviewed surveillance video of the shooting.
“A van pulled up to the inspection line and as the van stopped, the individual immediately shot the officer. It happened instantaneously, without warning. I don’t know if there was any conversation, but from what I saw, there was absolutely no chance and no warning for the officer to react.”
The shooter, identified as 32-year-old U.S. tattoo artist Andrew Crews, then killed himself.
“(Bowcock) had the presence of mind, after being hit, to actually reach out in her radio and indicate ‘officer down,’ and provide some details which were helpful to her colleagues,” Portelance said.
He said the response from other border officers, who immediately rushed to help their wounded colleague, was “not just professional, but also consistent with the training that we provided.”
Bowcock is now in stable condition and her family says she is on track to making a full recovery.
“She is doing well and we are happy to report that her positive outlook and sense of humour are shining through,” Bowcock’s family said in a statement late Thursday. “She is getting the best care possible.”
Her family said that Bowcock wanted to pursue a career in law enforcement from a young age.
“(She had) the feeling that she was pursuing her dream career,” reads the statement. “She has been welcomed by her colleagues and loves her job.”
The Bowcock family also extended their condolences to the gunman’s family and friends.
Investigators have not determined the motive behind the shooting, but said there is no evidence to suggest that Bowcock was specifically targeted.
Crews worked as a tattoo artist in Silverdale, Wash., just west of Seattle. He grew up in Las Vegas and recently moved to the area, his co-workers and friends told CTV British Columbia.
According to his stepfather, Crews sent his mother a text before the shooting to say he loved her and he was sorry.
Portelance said the CBSA will conduct a full investigation and look at ways of improving border officers’ safety on the job.
However, “random acts such as these are very difficult to protect against,” he said.