Update: Vancouver Police lay attempted murder charges against Yaletown shooting suspect
The Vancouver Police Department has laid charges against 61-year-old Gerald Mark Battersby, the suspect in Tuesday's shootings in both the Yaletown neighbourhood and the area around Science World.
Battersby has been charged with six counts of attempted murder – one for the attempted murder of the first shooting victim, and five for five police officers who confronted him. One female officer was injured in the shootout at Science World.
VPD Acting Chief Constable Doug LePard confirmed that Battersby is a former employee of the man who was shot in Yaletown, and said the force has interviewed over 100 witnesses over yesterday's incidents.
Battersby remains in hospital under guard, in serious but not critical condition. The victim is in hospital in stable but critical condition.
"Our thoughts are with the victim, his family and his friends," said LePard, in the force's media release. "Our focus will now be on completing a thorough investigation to provide Crown with the best evidence to support the charges."
The first shooting happened outside a Starbucks at the intersection of Davie Street and Marinaside.
Police have not confirmed the name of the victim, although various media outlets have spoken to witnesses who confirmed he is Paul Dragan, the 52-year-old owner of Reckless Cycles in Yaletown.
On Wednesday, LePard said the victim was hit in the arm, the leg, the knee, and several other locations.
After the shooting on Davie, "the man fled on a bike along the seawall, pursued by police," reads the VPD's media release. "Dozens of officers flooded the area and found the suspect on the sea wall at Science World. A second exchange of gun fire occurred. The suspect was shot and one police officer received minor injuries from flying glass when the window of her police car was shot out."
In Wednesday's press conference, LePard said the incident has not shaken his faith in the city of Vancouver or its safety.
"Vancouver is, despite extraordinary incidents like this, Vancouver has really never been a safer city," said LePard. "We've been getting safer and safer for the last two years in a row.
"We have driven down the number of shots fired and incidents. This is an extraordinary incident... I don't think people in any neighbourhood in Vancouver should be worried about being the victim of a random shooting.
"It's a beautiful neighbourhood (in Yaletown) and I would go there today if I had time to have a coffee at that coffee shop."
Police say the suspect, Battersby, has some known criminal history but LePard would not elaborate on what exactly that history is.
"He's not a known criminal to us," said LePard. "He does not have an extensive criminal history. There has been some interaction, most of it was quite a number of years ago."
LePard said the investigation will explore areas of the suspect's mental health.
"You have to wonder about that," he said.
LePard added that the suspect was "clearly bent on killing people" during yesterday's "rampage".
LePard also praised the efforts of a medical doctor, reportedly 66-year-old Cliff Chase, who responded to the victim in Yaletown.
"The fact that there was an emergency room doctor with 25 years experience... no doubt, he played an important role in that victim's survival so far," said LePard. "The fact that other good samaritans helped out, I really think that speaks to the quality of the people that we have in this city."