Yaletown community was left ‘wounded and hurting’ after last week’s brazen shooting, says executive director of the Yaletown Business Improvement Association.
Annette O’Shea says their community was shocked by the shooting that left a well known community member and business owner, 52-year-old Paul Dragan, critically injured.
“Paul is a very well known member of our community, very well liked,” says O’Shea. “It was not an anonymous shooting, this was a friend.”
She says their tight-knit community has been shaken and needs to feel grounded again.
“You hurt one member of our community, everybody else is a little bit hurt as well.”
Dragan was shot in broad daylight in front of the Starbucks on Davie Street and Marinaside Crescent Tuesday morning. The shooter was chased by Vancouver police and a second exchange of gun fire occurred just outside Science World. One officer was also injured.
Sixty-one-year-old suspect, who has now been identified by police as Gerald Mark Battersby, has been charged with six counts of attempted murder, one for the attempted murder of Dragan and five counts of attempted murder in relation to police officers involved.
Despite the violence, O’Shea says she feels safe in her neighbourhood.
“No community can ever plan for this, you can never figure out in advance how you are going to respond.”
But she says it is a miracle no one else was harmed.
O’Shea says while they cannot change what happened, they are now looking at what they can do to help the community heal.
This Wednesday, Yaletown Business Improvement Association will be hosting an outdoor community BBQ at the Roundhouse Turntable Plaza to bring everyone affected together.
Attendees are asked to wear yellow to show their support for the community and Paul’s family. Yellow ribbons will also be tied on trees in the neighbourhood.
There will be a giant ‘get well’ card for everyone to sign.
“We want Paul’s family to know that we have not forgotten and we miss him,” says O’Shea. “News changes, but our community does not want to feel forgotten.”
Canadian Blood Services will also be at the event, asking for donations.
“We know that Paul survived because of donated blood,” says O’Shea.
The staff from Starbucks, Urban Fare, Coast Capital and Reckless Cycles, who were on site and involved as witnesses or assisted Dragan directly, are also expected to attend.
A fundraiser for Paul’s family was held this Saturday, and a special “Ride for Recovery” is being planned for June 29.
Meanwhile, Vancouver police are asking anyone who may have photo or video evidence in relation to the incident to contact the VPD Major Crime Section at (604) 717-2541 or by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.