Tue, August 10, 2004

Gun battle stuns B.C.

A POLICE chase and running gun battle ended yesterday in Port Moody, B.C. with the death of a heavily armed gunman and a woman in critical condition in hospital with multiple gunshot wounds. Around 6 a.m., witnesses said they heard a woman screaming, "Save me! Save me!" and, "He's got a gun!" as she ran down a street. At one point she used two bystanders as human shields.

Jarod Allen watched the shooting unfold from his backyard. He said the woman broke away from the bystanders and began running across the road when the gunman, wearing camouflage clothing, began firing.

"He shot at her a few times as she was crossing. I heard tires screech and saw some man stop. He just opened the door and she jumped in and he sped off," Allen said.

"I don't think (the driver) knew her. It was just somebody doing a good thing."

Within seconds, police arrived at the scene and found the gunman crouching in bushes. He climbed into a black truck and sped off.

As many as four dozen shots were fired between police and the 47-year-old man. Police said he repeatedly fired at them while driving at high speed down a busy highway through three Vancouver suburbs.

The chase ended in 15 kilometres away on a busy highway in Port Coquitlam after the man clipped a vehicle in an intersection and was then rammed off the road by a police officer. Police then engaged in a shootout as the man ran down the highway firing back at them. The man, who has not yet been identified, died of his wounds.

Port Moody police said the woman, 34, who knew the man, had surgery yesterday for gunshot wounds.