Family of man killed by Vancouver police stunned by news

By kim bolan, Vancouver Sun November 2, 2012

Blair Gardner wants to remember her dad Christopher Lewis Ray as a compassionate caring man who always took in a stray animal.

And the 19-year-old Washington state resident finds it hard to believe that her father was wielding a knife when he was fatally shot by a Vancouver Police officer Monday night.

The death is now being investigated by the Independent Investigations Office.

Gardner said she got word of the tragedy 24 hours later when a chaplain from Vancouver phoned her aunt in Washington.

“No police have called us or anything,” Gardner said. “We need some truth out there. There is no truth about what’s happening. Everybody is slandering him and they don’t even know who he is.”

Ray, 52, struggled for years with drug addiction, she said. But he worked hard fixing cars or even cutting lawns so he could send money to Gardner, her mom and her older brother Frederick in Walla Walla.

“He had problems that he was trying to get over. He had a drug problem that he was trying to conquer,” Gardner said. “He had been clean for many years on and off. My mom received an email from him on Oct. 23 — just last week. He was trying to be clean … He had informed my mom that he was in an acupuncture treatment to stay clean and kick the habit.”

Vancouver Police said they were called to the 400-block of Skeena Street about someone smashing windows. The first officer on scene was confronted by a man with a knife who was subsequently shot, VPD spokesman Sgt. Randy Fincham said. -Fink-Ham-

Gardner said she doesn’t understand how anyone could have seen her dad, who was short in stature, as a physical threat.

“This makes me feel horrible. I don’t believe that a 5-foot 7-inch man couldn’t have been taken down by a police officer. He had arthritis in his hands. He could not open his hands. He was not a threat to anybody,” she said.

“If he had this knife as they claim, I don’t think he would have been able to use it because of the severity of his arthritis and because of the pain he was in every day of his life.”

She said her dad was living in a church-run group home.

“There is no history of violence. He was a caring man. He did everything he could for his family,” she said. “He loved animals. He was always taking in strays he found. He always had a dog with him.”

Ray served in the U.S. army, but ended up being deported to Canada when Gardner was very young. They kept in touch by email and phone, but hoped to reunite in B.C. in 2013 because he wanted to meet his still unborn grandchild.

“He was very excited to meet his first grandchild,” said Gardner, who is 32 weeks pregnant.

She said she is hoping to be in touch with the IIO investigators.

“I am hoping they contact me. I am his child and we need some kind of answers. We want to see a copy of the investigation,” she said. “We want to be involved in everything.”

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One Response to Family of man killed by Vancouver police stunned by news

  1. Dad says:

    I dont understan why the police feel it is necessary to kill a man with a knife.If they need to shoot,you would think shooting in a non vital area would quickly end the episode.Even though I dont believe shooting someone with a knife if necessary unless they are in a attack mode.

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