Canadian border officer shot at main Washington state crossing

Tue Oct 16, 2012 9:53pm EDT
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By Laura L. Myers

BLAINE, Washington (Reuters) - A gunman in a van shot and critically wounded a Canadian border officer on Tuesday at the main crossing between Washington state and British Columbia, then immediately killed himself, Canadian authorities said.

The shooter, whose vehicle had Washington state license plates, rolled up to a Canadian security booth at the Peace Arch crossing, the busiest in the region, and shot the officer in the neck.

The wounded officer, a woman, was taken by helicopter to a hospital in critical condition, while the gunman was pronounced dead at the scene, said Royal Canadian Mounted Police spokesman Corporal Bert Paquet.

Authorities said they were still interviewing witnesses and seeking to determine the motive for the shooting.

Investigators have placed a yellow tarp over the van's right front passenger window. They planned to take the van to a forensic examination site, Paquet said.

Canadian Minister of Public Safety Vic Towes said he was "deeply concerned by the news of the shooting."

"My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and colleagues of this Border Service Officer," Towes said in a statement.

Washington state Governor Chris Gregoire said in a statement that she had spoken to the premier of British Columbia and pledged full cooperation as the investigation moved forward.   Continued...

Police officers gather around the van where a man shot a Canadian Border Agent at the Peace Arch Canadian-U.S. border crossing in Surrey, British Columbia October 16, 2012. REUTERS/Andy Clark