A 61-year-old man has been charged with six counts of attempted murder and four weapons-related offences over what Vancouver’s deputy police chief is calling an “extraordinary and rare” shootout with his officers.
Acting Chief Doug LePard said the suspect, Gerald Battersby, was a former employee of the victim.
The other five charges relate to gunfire exchanges with police. Mr. Battersby was shot numerous times by police outside Science World. Among his injuries were wounds to his arm, leg and knee. Mr. Battersby is in hospital in serious condition, and under police guard, said Acting Chief LePard.
The deputy police chief said a female officer who suffered significant injuries to her head from flying glass is doing fine and is otherwise unharmed. He said she was in a police cruiser when it was struck by gunfire.
Acting Chief LePard said the first shots were fired around 11 a.m. Tuesday outside a Starbucks in the city’s Yaletown area, where a man was left fighting for his life on the pavement. The victim, Paul Dragan, has been identified by his co-workers. He remains in critical but stable condition.
The mayhem was followed by a shootout between the suspect and two plainclothes police officers who happened to be in the area to grab coffee.
The suspect fled on a bike along the city’s seawall, with one of the officers commandeering a bike to follow him. Another exchange of gunfire erupted outside Science World, a popular tourist and family attraction.
“It is absolutely extraordinary,” Acting Chief LePard said. “I’ve been a police officer for over 33 years. I’ve never seen anything like this happen in Vancouver.” Acting Chief LePard lauded several Good Samaritans, including Cliff Chase, who helped the victim outside the coffee shop.
Dr. Chase, who worked as an emergency room doctor in Saskatchewan for 25 years, said he was leaving a store when his wife told him a man had been shot.
“You kick into procedure mode, you blank everything else out if you can, and you just do what you have to do,” he said. “You’re trained to intervene in whatever way you can.” Dr. Chase said the victim was lying on the ground unconscious, barely breathing, going into shock and bleeding heavily.
He said he lifted up the man’s shirt but didn’t see any blood on the front of his body so he turned him over and found he was bleeding from his back.
“When I did roll him over to see how much blood there was, and it was actively pumping out, I didn’t see that there was one, or two or three shots,” he said. “I just knew this fellow is not doing well. He was bleeding out very quickly.” He said he didn’t want to perform CPR because he wasn’t sure how long it would take for the ambulance to arrive, and the victim would have bled even more had he used chest compressions.
Dr. Chase said he waited for the ambulance to arrive and take the victim to hospital, after which he finished his coffee and went home to eat lunch.
“So you know I didn’t do a lot,” he said.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Doug LePard as a constable. He is Acting Chief.