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Aftermath

Good Samaritan thanks those who helped her during Vancouver riots Add to ...

When two of the Stanley Cup rioters yanked a metal grate from the ground so they could smash it through a liquor-store window, Shanna Selinger threw herself into the line of fire. The 30-year-old tried to talk some sense into the drunken crowd and, for her trouble, was jeered and had a bottle flung in her direction. The tense confrontation - with fights threatening to erupt - subsided only when police fired a flashbang device.

Ms. Selinger was alone when she stood up in front of the rioters but - as video shot by The Globe and Mail shows - she was soon joined by other Good Samaritans. She's been reluctant to speak about the situation for fear of portraying herself as some kind of hero, but during an emotional interview Monday, Ms. Selinger thanked the strangers who helped her out and expressed hope they would find a way to get in touch.

"If I knew who they were, I'd like to just send them a thank-you message," she said.

"I just think you're amazing for standing up with me, especially that first guy."

Ms. Selinger, a sales representative who grew up in Langley, watched Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final at a downtown Vancouver pub. After the hometown Canucks were defeated by the Boston Bruins, Ms. Selinger was stunned to see that a vehicle across the street had been lit on fire.

She and three friends left the bar shortly after. They were walking along Robson Street when Ms. Selinger saw two males grab the grate and head toward Jimmy's, a liquor store/pub she had visited in the past. Part of the glass had already been shattered, but metal bars kept the rioters from getting inside.

Without giving it a second thought, Ms. Selinger ran in front of the rioters and implored them to stop. She was met with chants of: "We want booze!" Someone threw a beer bottle that landed at her feet. She described the response as "deflating."

"Nobody was listening."

If there was a positive element to the ordeal, it was the support Ms. Selinger received. First, a young man in a blue Canucks jersey walked up and stood beside her. Then another young man and a woman showed up. Others soon followed.

The police then arrived on the scene and forced the crowd to scatter by firing the flashbang, a stun grenade.

Ms. Selinger didn't realize the incident had been caught on camera until the next day, when her sister spotted the video on The Globe and Mail website. The response has been overwhelming, with dozens of her friends expressing their support. The online comments have also been very kind.

"The people that came and stood with me, because there were so few, those people mean a lot to me. It's really amazing that they came," she said, her voice breaking at times.

Though Ms. Selinger was able to escape without injury, not all of the Good Samaritans who tried to stop the rioters that night were quite so lucky.

Robert Mackay, a 36-year-old chef, was attacked after he tried to stop rioters from breaking into The Bay. Mr. Mackay was swarmed by several men and knocked to the ground, where he was also sprayed with Mace. He suffered bruised ribs.

Just when the situation looked its most dangerous, Mr. Mackay was helped by the intervention of two young men, including 18-year-old Dean Seskin. Mr. Mackay and Mr. Seskin met again on Sunday.

"The first thing we did was give each other a hug," Mr. Seskin said.

Added Mr. Mackay: "At that point, I was defenceless and laying down on the street with my head buried in my arms. I'm very grateful for them. … I consider them my heroes."

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