A Canadian border guard was shot at the Douglas border crossing shortly before 2 p.m. today by a man who then turned the gun on himself. The gunman has been confirmed dead at the scene.
At around 2 p.m. the Surrey Royal Canadian Mounted Patrol responded to a 911 call from a witness at the Douglas border crossing where gunshots were fired. Eyewitness reports suggest that a lone male in a white 15-passenger van with Washington plates shot a female Canadian Border Services Agency officer at the northbound crossing.
The wounded officer was airlifted to a hospital to receive treatment. She was still breathing when transported.
“It would appear from the first indications that [the gunshot] would have been in the neck area,” RCMP Corporal Bert Paquet said. More details will be released after the family has been notified.
“We’re still talking to witnesses to confirm exactly what events took place and the sequence of events that led to the unfolding of the incident,” Paquet said. RCMP is also reviewing video surveillance.
The van is considered physical evidence and will be taken to the RCMP’s forensic examination site. It is unknown whether the suspect is the registered owner of the vehicle.
Hours after the incident with helicopters circling the area, cars were still backed up at the northbound crossing. Drivers were not being told what had happened, but many had been apprised of the situation through news reports via their cellphones. Cars in the vicinity at the time are being considered part of the investigation, and CBSA agents were collecting license plate numbers, birth dates, and travel information from passengers before allowing them to cross the border.
Brian White, a Delta resident who had crossed the border for gas and a bottle of wine, witnessed the event. He said he heard a “pop” and then noticed border patrol agents swarming the female guard’s booth. “One girl was screaming,” he said, “and then they just closed everything down.”
White was in the NEXUS lane at the opposite end from where the incident occurred.
“There were around eight to 12 [border guards] that responded,” he said. “It was a quick response. I’m glad they have their sidearms now.”
All lanes of Interstate 5 through the Peace Arch border crossing remain closed Tuesday afternoon, and drivers are being directed to the SR 543 crossing. The crossing will be closed for “the foreseeable future,” Paquet said.
“We want to be sure that this investigation is going to be thorough. We’ll leave no rocks unturned to find out exactly what took place,” Paquet said. “It is something that hits very close to heart. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the officer and the family of the officer.”