IAN BAILEY AND JOSH WINGROVE
Globe and Mail Update
April 1, 2009 at 3:46 AM EDT
A wheelchair-using woman is said to have shot a manager who was trying to evict her from an assisted-living facility on the British Columbia coast before being shot herself by police responding to the horrifying scene, officials and neighbours say.
It was just after 4:30 p.m. Tuesday when the peace broke at Good Samaritan Christensen Village, a retirement and care facility in Gibsons, a community on the Sunshine Coast a short ferry ride north of Vancouver.
The bizarre gunplay in the bucolic community came after a woman in her 40s, who lived on the first floor, reportedly lashed out at plans to evict her.
"Apparently, she didn't like being evicted," said tenant Oscar Jensen, reached at his room in the village. "There's so many stories going, right now it's anybody's guess."
An RCMP officer watches over the scene of a shooting at the Good Samaritan Christenson Village nursing home in Gibsons, B.C., on Tuesday. Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press
An RCMP officer watches over the scene of a shooting at the Good Samaritan Christenson Village nursing home in Gibsons, B.C., on Tuesday. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)
* On the web: Christensen Village's site Popup
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The building manager, identified by residents as Ken Perrier, and the woman were airlifted to hospital Tuesday night, and remained in serious condition, police said.
RCMP later confirmed that the woman was shot by Mounties. Her name was not released.
"It appears that a 40-year old-resident, a woman, had shot one of the employees that was at her door," Corporal Peter Thiessen told reporters at the scene late Tuesday night
"There were four employees that were at the door that were in the process of evicting her."
He said he did not know why the female resident was being evicted.
"She ends up shooting one of them, departing, going out the front door on foot with a long-barrelled weapon."
The suspect allegedly tried to commandeer a vehicle and that's when three officers arrived. Cpl. Thiessen said the officers told her not to get in the vehicle.
"There were indications she may have been in possession of a second weapon," he said.
Cpl. Thiessen said police shot the suspect after she failed to respond to commands. He did not know if she had fired on the officers.
Police later confirmed she had a handgun, which was recovered at the scene along with the shotgun.
A tenant, who asked to be identified as Louise, lived down the hall from the woman and heard gunshots. Residents said the woman's name is Linda.
"It just was a big noise, I didn't even think of a gun. Anyway, then I had a peek out and I saw this lady, this young woman with a long, like, rifle. I saw this long rod, but I didn't think it was a gun," said Louise, 88. "I know that she didn't want to move, you know?"
She said the woman had a lot of clutter in her first-floor apartment that was considered a fire hazard. She said the woman moved in after suffering a brain injury. "She was real friendly and helpful to me. She was just behind me at mealtime," Louise said. "It was just down the hall from me, so I'm glad I wasn't closer to her room."
Residents were stunned by the reported injuries suffered by the building manager.
"[I heard] he was hit by about two shots," said resident Robert Maxwell, who said the manager is a strong man in his 40s. "He's big. He should have been a football player."
A staffer at the facility said people were left "pretty shaken" after the shooting.
"I think Ken, who was shot, was trying to escort her out," said another elderly resident, who declined to give her name. "She had been asked to leave here. I think she had caused trouble. Nothing big that I ever heard about, but she just wasn't getting along with anybody."
The community's mayor said he was astonished by the events at the home.
"Any time someone starts wielding a gun over a domestic dispute like this, it's pretty sad, but like I've been telling everybody it's the tragedy of guns," Barry Janyk said. "When people snap and there's a gun nearby, they just become the weapon of choice. It's not gang-related but it sure is an ugly situation for a little town that prides itself on being a wonderful place to live."
Mr. Janyk said he had heard that the dispute involved an eviction.
There are about 140 residents in the Lutheran home, which opened in 2007. It's run by the Edmonton-based Good Samaritan Society.
"I'd like to reassure the community that staff and residents and the community are now safe," said Gavin Wilson, a spokesman for Vancouver Coastal Health. "It's a very unfortunate situation."