A female Canadian border guard shot at the Peace Arch crossing on Tuesday is expected to recover from her wounds following what police are treating as an attempted murder and suicide.
The shooting took place just before 2 p.m. at the Peace Arch border crossing in South Surrey. Police say a man was trying to cross into Canada in a white van with Washington plates when the shooting took place.
"At about two o'clock, Surrey RCMP responded to a 911 call from a witness regarding a CBSA officer who had been shot in the line of duty," said Surrey RCMP Cpl. Bert Paquet.
"First response emergency response teams, police dog services...all resources at the time."
According to Paquet, the driver of the van, a lone male, was pronounced dead on the scene while the guard, who appeared to have been shot in the neck/shoulder area, was air lifted to Royal Columbian Hospital.
At press time, the officer, identified as Lori Bowcock by the Union of Customs and Immigration (CIU), was in stable condition following surgery Tuesday night.
Bowcock reportedly began working at Peace Arch crossing several months ago after transferring from the Ontario Provincial Police.
On Wednesday, as police attempted to piece together the sequence of events that led to the shooting, various reports had conflicting accounts on what exactly transpired.
While some reports have claimed the agent was struck by a bullet as the aftermath of the driver's suicide attempt, RCMP are treating the incident as an attempted homicide.
Jason McMichael, first national vice-president of the CIU confirmed the shooting was not a result of a stray suicide bullet.
"That's not the case," he said. "We did receive confirmation from the CBSA that there were two shots fired, the first shot was directed at our member and the second shot was the self-inflicted gunshot wound."
As for how Bowcock's colleagues at the Peace Arch crossing were coping, McMichael said they were rattled, but resolute.
"Like the rest of the country, they were shaken by the news but returned to work today with the same resolve they went to work yesterday with," said McMichael. "They face these threats all the time and are certainly rattled, but firm in their resolve and commitment to protect Canadian."
The incident raised the issue of Canada's border guards being armed, as there are still many in the country awaiting training and certification to bear firearms. In 2006, the federal government announced it would begin rolling out measures to arm Canada's border agents over a 10-year period.
When asked if Bowcock had been armed, McMichael said he didn't believe she was, but was unable to confirm.
"Regardless of this incident, the union has always pushed for our members to be armed in as timely a fashion as possible," he said. "We have no reason to believe anyone is dragging their feet on that. This incident couldn't have been avoided whether she was armed or not.
"These folks are do a tough job and committed to protecting Canada's borders."
As a result of the shooting, the Peace Arch Border was set to remain closed until at least 4 p.m. Wednesday afternoon.
-With files from Tom Zytaruk
© Copyright 2013