Metro Vancouver Transit Police arrested a man after a SkyTrain rider and Canada Line attendant alleged they were threatened. (File photo)

Shooting

Transit Police have been in deadly Surrey situations before

Constable Josh Harms, 27, recovering after being shot twice in arm at Scott Road SkyTrain Station

The Metro Vancouver Transit Police, the only force of its type in Canada, has been involved in deadly confrontations in Surrey before but Wednesday afternoon marked the first time once of its own has been wounded by gunfire.

Constable Josh Harms, 27, is recovering in hospital after being shot twice in the arm, on the platform of the Scott Road SkyTrain Station.

The transit police’s 183 officers and 72 other staff are responsible for policing 63 stations along 144 kilometres of rail, a fleet of more than 1,500 buses on 200 routes, and Seabus. The serve and protect more than 400,000 riders each day along this public transportation network.

These officers deal not only with fare cheats, drunks, loitering, panhandling, and fighting, but also stabbings, suicides, assaults, perverts, gangsters, drug traffickers and robbers. They also work in tandem with other police forces. For example, in January 2015 the Transit Police and Surrey RCMP launched a joint project focusing on Surrey’s major transit hubs.

OUR VIEW: Transit cop shooting reminds us to be thankful for those who protect us

READ ALSO: Surrey RCMP say wounded transit officer did not fire his gun at shooter

READ ALSO: Police still hunting armed suspect, release video after transit officer shot in Surrey

Harms, who has served three years with the Transit Police, was on patrol when he was shot, shortly after 4 o’clock. The Surrey RCMP has not released many details about the investigation, except to say Harms did not fire his gun. At this time of writing they had yet to arrest a suspect.

The force, originally operating under the unwieldy moniker Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority Police Service, began as full-fledged police force of 70 officers in December 2005, outfitted with full policing powers and carrying .40-calibre Glocks.

“Send a carpenter out to work, you send him with a hammer. Send a police officer out to work, he has to have his sidearm, pepper spray, baton, handcuffs. Tools of the trade,” Constable Al Clapp told this reporter, while on patrol in Surrey in December 2005. His partner at the time, Constable Mert Wales, agreed. “That’s all it is. It’s not about running around like Marshall Dillon.”

Speaking of marshalls, the transit police’s history harkens back to the 1890s, when the Watchmen of the British Columbia Electric Railway were tasked with protecting the company’s depots and power plants and later on, trams and electric street cars in Victoria and Vancouver.

According to the Transit Police’s website, a Special Constable named Charles Painter was shot and killed on March 19, 1915, while trying to arrest a thief along the rail line near False Creek in Vancouver.

“His death remains the only line of duty death in Transit Police’s history,” the website reveals.

Meantime, the Transit Police were involved in two deaths in Surrey, both in 2014.

Transit Police arrested Ernest Shawn Moosomin, 41, near the Surrey Central bus loop, on July 31, 2014, under the Mental Health Act for “irrational behavior” on a Coast Mountain bus.

“He was rambling incoherently and hiding under a seat in the bus,” Transit Police spokeswoman Anne Drennan said at the time. The officers drove Moosomin to Surrey Memorial Hospital in a patrol car, to be examined, but upon arrival he was found to be in “medical distress” in the back seat.

“Despite the medical assistance, he was pronounced dead at 39 minutes after midnight.”

A BC Coroners Service inquest jury found his death was accidental.

On Dec. 28, 2014 Transit Police shot Naverone Woods, 23, of Hazelton B.C., at the Safeway grocery store at 10355 King George Boulevard in Whalley, after he grabbed a knife, stabbed himself and advanced on police. He was pronounced dead at Royal Columbian Hospital, in the operating room.

The director of the Independent Investigation Office, a police watchdog group based in Whalley, found a Transit Police officer not guilty of any crime when she shot the knife-wielding man dead but questioned why she and her partner were not equipped with a less lethal weapon, specifically a Taser.

An autopsy found Woods stabbed himself 14 times and died of “stab and gunshot wounds to the right arm and torso.”

The Surrey-based Independent Investigation Office of B.C. (IIO), was set up in September 2012 with the aim of keeping B.C. police officers accountable in cases involving death or serious injury.

“The use of force would appear to be reasonable given the totality of the circumstances,” Chief Civilian Director Richard Rosenthal found in Naverone’s case.



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram  and follow Tom on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kevin Fowler of Abbotsford won almost $57,000 in the Lotto 6/49 drawn from Aug. 15. (Submitted photo)
Abbotsford man wins almost $57K in Lotto 6/49

Kevin Fowler matches five out of six numbers, using dog’s age and other numbers

Everett Silvertips’ Gage Gonclaves fights with Spokane Chiefs’ Filip Kral for the puck during the game on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020 in Everett, Wash. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Mission’s Gage Goncalves invited to Hockey Canada’s World Juniors selection camp

Goncalves was recently drafted to the NHL in the 2nd round by the Tampa Bay Lightning

Mission firefighters in the process of hooking up a hose to a fire hydrant across the street. The fire was extinguished before it was needed. Patrick Penner photo.
Mission firefighters respond to house fire on Ferndale Avenue

Emergency scanners reported flames shooting out of bedroom window

Google Maps screenshot taken at 7:56 a.m., Oct. 29.
TRAFFIC: Westbound Highway 1 crash between Chilliwack and Abbotsford

Left lane is blocked, traffic backed up to No. 3 Road

Staff at Lowe’s Canada stores contributed more than $2.1 million to charities across the nation through their Heroes Campaign. In Abbotsford and Mission, three charities received a total of more than $25,000. (Submitted photo)
Lowe’s Canada donates more than $25K to 3 local charities

Funds will support non-profits in Abbotsford and Mission

A woman wears a face mask and plastic gloves while browsing books as a sticker on the floor indicates a one-way direction of travel between shelves of books at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch, after it and four other branches reopened with limited services, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
B.C. reports 234 new COVID cases, 1 death of senior who had attended small birthday party

Roughly 5,700 people are isolating due to being exposed to a confirmed case

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks Thursday (Oct. 29) during a news conference held at Fraser Health office, in video posted to Facebook. (Photo: Government of British Columbai/Facebook)
COVID-19 ‘disproportionately’ affecting Fraser Health: Henry

Health region has about 75 per cent of B.C.’s active cases

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

A can of Canada Dry Ginger Ale is shown in Toronto on Thursday Oct. 29, 2020. The maker of Canada Dry Ginger Ale has agreed to pay over $200,000 to settle a class-action lawsuit launched by a B.C. man who alleged he was misled by marketing suggesting the soda had medicinal benefits. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Joseph O’Connal
B.C. man’s lawsuit over marketing of Canada Dry ginger ale settled for $200K

Soda’s maker, Canada Dry Mott’s Inc., denied the allegations and any liability

Vancouver Island-based Wilson’s Transportation has expanded to fill some of the routes left unserviced by Greyhound as of Nov. 1, 2018. (Black Press files)
B.C. bus companies say they need help to survive COVID-19

Like airlines, motor coaches have lost most of their revenue

A deer was spotted in October 2020 in Prince Rupert, B.C., with a bright pink yoga ball stuck in its antlers. (Kayla Vickers/Chronicles Of Hammy The Deer Official Page)
Hammy 2.0? Prince Rupert deer spotted with bright pink yoga ball stuck in antlers

The BC Conservation Officer Service is aware of the deer roaming around the city

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Kelowna Mountie hit with 2nd lawsuit in 2 months for alleged assault

Const. Julius Prommer is accused of breaking a woman’s knee during while responding to a noise complaint

Hirdeypal Batth, 24, has been charged with sexual assault and forcible confinement in relation to an incident in August 2020. (VPD handout)
Man, 24, charged with sex assault after allegedly posing as Uber driver in Vancouver

Investigators believe there could be more victims outside of the Vancouver area

B.C. Premier John Horgan and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee arrive for annual Cascadia conference in Vancouver, Oct. 10, 2018. They have agreed to coordinate the permanent switch to daylight saving time. (B.C. government)
B.C. still awaiting U.S. approval to eliminate daylight saving time

Clocks going back one hour Nov. 1 in Washington too

Most Read