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

Just Posted

VIDEO: ‘Alarm bells’ raised by footage allegedly from Abbotsford pig farm, SPCA says

PETA released video Wednesday showing dead and injured piglets next to nursing piglets

Abbotsford man’s People’s Party lawsuit heading to court

Satinder Dhillon claims rights to People’s Party, now used by former Conservative renegade Maxime Bernier

Your daily commute and weather forecast: Apr. 24, 2019

Despite yesterday’s grey and gloomy forecast, we’re looking at a bit of sun every day for the next week

Abbotsford Olympians excel in Langley

Five local swimmers impress at novice meet

VIDEO: ‘Spiderghini’ stopping in Abbotsford for Avengers: Endgame

Highstreet Shopping Centre displaying Spiderman-designed Lamborghini for movie premiere

VIDEO: Police dog in Oregon struck by 200 porcupine quills during pursuit

The German shepherd had to be sedated and was in treatment for more than two hours

‘B.C. cannot wait for action’: Top doctor urges province to decriminalize illicit drugs

Dr. Bonnie Henry says current approach in ‘war on drugs’ has criminalized and stigmatized drug users

VIDEO: Surrey stabbing leaves man with ‘potentially life altering injuries’

Police believe an altercation between two people led to the incident, in the 13700-block of 97A Ave.

VIDEO: Surrey RCMP investigating after ‘sudden death’ of man found with critical injuries

Police say a man is dead after being found laying on the ground in the 13300-block of 114th Avenue

Many teens don’t know they’re vaping nicotine, Health Canada finds

Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey finds youth unaware of nicotine product risk

B.C.’s largest Vaisakhi festival target of threatening Facebook post: Surrey RCMP

Police say they are investigating the posts on Facebook, after local MLA forwarded screenshots

Murder on B.C. property didn’t need to be disclosed before sale, court rules

Buyer had tried to break contract after learning a man with ties to crime had been murdered there

Defence accuses officer of ‘incompetence’ in trial for B.C. man charged with daughters’ murders

Double murder trial for the Victoria father accused of killing his two young daughters continues

Tofino beckons Trudeau for quiet Easter vacation

Environmental group hopes latest Pacific Rim vacation inspires change in prime minister

Most Read