Suspected shooter in custody after gunfire erupts in downtown Vancouver
A brazen daylight shooting in downtown Vancouver and ensuing firefight outside the Telus World of Science put a man, a police officer and a suspect gunman in hospital Tuesday morning.
The first victim, 52-year-old Paul Dragan, was shot outside a busy Starbucks in Yaletown and left bleeding on the ground around 11 a.m.
“I saw a guy leaning across a blue car... with a big, black handgun. He took one shot while I was watching,” a witness told CTV News.
Dragan, the owner of Reckless Bike Stores, was rushed from the scene by paramedics. He underwent surgery and remained in critical but stable condition Tuesday evening.
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Const. Brian Montague said police were close by when the shots rang out and engaged in a shootout with a suspect at the scene before he fled on a bicycle. Police then chased the man eastbound along the seawall as dozens of other officers flooded the area.
“Two of our officers were waiting or looking for him,” Montague said. “When the suspect got to Science World here, he was confronted.”
Officers and the suspect exchanged gunfire once again on the deck of the popular family attraction while hundreds of people were locked inside and told to lie on the floor.
“Nobody in Science World was injured – none of the kids, none of the staff, none of the adults,” Montague said.
A 61-year-old suspect was shot, arrested and taken to Vancouver General Hospital for surgery. The latest update from police said he remained in serious condition under police guard.
A female police officer in an unmarked cruiser was also cut by flying glass when the vehicle’s window shattered. She has already been treated in hospital for minor injuries and released.
Potential motive for shooting
Late Tuesday afternoon, police attended a rental property on Granville Street operated by Dragan.
It’s believed the shooting may have been triggered by a tenant-landlord dispute at the property.
The 61-year-old shooting suspect was recently evicted from the home.
Montague said it’s too soon to confirm a motive for the shooting, which followed two other public shootings that injured two people and killed a third since Saturday night. He said there’s no need for the public to be “overly concerned.”
“It is unfortunate that we’ve had such a large number of shootings in such a short period of time,” Montague said. “We don’t expect people to change their day-to-day habits because of these last three incidents.”
Witnesses reported hearing multiple shots on high-traffic Davie Street, and up to a dozen outside the science centre. The numbers have not been confirmed by police.
Investigators do not believe there are any other suspects outstanding.
Police watchdog called in
The B.C. Independent Investigations Office, which probes officer-involved shootings, has been called to investigate the firefight.
Director Robin Plomp said his team faces “a significant challenge because of the volume of witnesses involved” and the physical scope of the scenes.
Hundreds of people saw or heard the very public shootings, and police said they’ve been “inundated” with phone calls from people wanting to turn in videos and photos taken at the scene.
Officials urge witnesses to hold onto those items, because they may be used as evidence as the case goes forward.
Four IIO investigators have been dispatched to various police detachments to speak with witnesses and another two forensics officers are working the scenes.
The probe will also focus on how many shots were fired at each scene, and whether the officers involved broke any protocols.
“We’ll be looking at whether the actions of the officer were justified and lawful,” said Plomp.
The review findings will be submitted to its chief civilian officer to determine if any policing rules were broken.
With files from CTV Vancouver’s Lisa Rossington