Suspect in Yaletown shooting was dealing with mental health issues, living on the street
WATCH ABOVE: The former boss of the suspect in the shooting of a Yaletown bike shop owner says Gerald Battersby was on a downward spiral. Rumina Daya reports.
VANCOUVER – Sixty-one-year-old Gerald Battersby is now facing six counts of attempted murder.
He is alleged to have shot Paul Dragan and exchanged gunfire with Vancouver Police in Yaletown and near Science World on Tuesday morning.
Battersby was working for a construction company and picked up his last paycheck on Sunday.
His employer, Colin Barkhouse, said Battersby was recently evicted from a temporary shelter and was trying to deal with his mental health issues and get his life back together.
“It was a chain of events that led to a disaster,” said Barkhouse.
Dragan, owner of Reckless Bikes in Yaletown, was seriously injured after Battersby allegedly ambushed him.
Dragan is Battersby’s former boss and recently lost his job as a bike mechanic.
Barkhouse said he never knew Battersby to own a gun and he never talked about wanting to harm Dragan.
However, the problems kept piling up for Battersby, who friends say had mental challenges. After losing his job he got kicked out of a house where he lived with his brother and another roommate. Dragan was their landlord.
“He finds that his brother and his brother’s associate had thrown away all his stuff and that thew him off the deep end,” said Barkhouse.
Desperate and with nowhere to go, Battersby ended up in a shelter in North Vancouver last month. The shelter only offers temporary accommodations and Barkhouse said Battersby told him he was kicked out nine days ago and ended up living on the street.
“He said to me, I guess the only thing to do is go and jump off the bridge,” said Barkhouse. “That’s not going to solve your problems.”
“He was a destitute person. It must have got to the point where his mind snapped.”
Barkhouse said he never thought Battersby would get so violent. “I’ve never seen violence on that man,” he said. “Never.”
– With files from Rumina Daya
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