Posts Tagged "Abbotsford"

22Jul

Abbotsford church fire an arson, police say | CBC News

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The Abbotsford Police Department is investigating a suspicious fire at the Central Heights Church that took place on Wednesday night. 

Police say they arrived on scene around 8 p.m. The fire was extinguished by Abbotsford Fire Rescue and caused only minimal damage.

The church was unoccupied at the time and nobody was injured. 

The police department says patrol officers examined security footage and have identified a suspect believed to be a dark-skinned man with an average build, about 30-40 years old, five feet eight inches to five feet ten inches tall.

He was wearing a grey baseball hat, a bright yellow rain jacket, white muscle shirt, blue-green shorts with a pattern, black and white shoes and was carrying a dark brown or black backpack.

Abbotsford police are asking for witnesses, CCTV footage, and dashcam footage from the surrounding area between 7 and 9 p.m. that night.

Jesse Wilson, the communications and discipleship pastor at Central Heights Church, said that a few people driving past noticed the fire and made an effort to stop it before police arrived. 

“We hope people can stay safe when things happen like this.” 

7Jul

Man who stabbed Abbotsford high schoolers ineligible for parole for 16 years

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Gabriel Klein will serve a life sentence for the second-degree murder of Letisha Reimer and the aggravated assault of her friend in November 2016.

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A man who fatally stabbed a teenage girl in her high school’s rotunda in Abbotsford in 2016 will not be eligible to apply for parole for 16 years, after a judge ruled the impacts of his actions have been “powerful and far-reaching.”

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Gabriel Klein was convicted of second-degree murder and aggravated assault in March 2020 in the attack that killed 13-year-old Letisha Reimer and seriously injured her friend.

He receives an automatic life sentence and an additional seven-year sentence for the aggravated assault, to be served concurrently.

However, Klein also received seven years’ credit for time served while awaiting trial.

Klein, who has schizophrenia, applied for a hearing over criminal responsibility one week before sentencing was originally set to begin last September.

Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes ruled in April against Klein’s argument that he suffered a mental disorder that made him unable to appreciate the nature of his actions or that they were wrong.

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Klein declined to speak at the sentencing hearing, but his lawyer Martin Peters said he read all of the victim impact statements.

In delivering her sentence, Holmes said Klein’s moral culpability is high and not only affected his victims, and their family and friends, but also destroyed the school community’s sense of security.

She says that while the trial focused on Klein, now is the time when a spotlight can be shone on Reimer, her friend and other victims of the offence.

“The victim impact statements, and there are many, make clear that she was valued as a very special person, joyful, filled with laughter, poised and confident, kind-hearted and caring, generous as a volunteer, devoted to her family, a wonderful soul with a beautiful smile, fun to be with, willing to be goofy and in an unbearable irony, full of life,” Holmes said.

“The effects of losing her are many, wide and profound.”

7Jul

B.C. man guilty of killing Abbotsford teen to find out parole eligibility

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Gabriel Klein will serve a life sentence for the second-degree murder of Letisha Reimer and the aggravated assault of her friend in November 2016.

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NEW WESTMINSTER  — The man who killed a 13-year-old girl and injured her friend at a high school in Abbotsford is expected to find out how long he will be in prison before he’s eligible for parole.

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Gabriel Klein will serve a life sentence for the second-degree murder of Letisha Reimer and the aggravated assault of her friend in November 2016.

B.C. Supreme Court Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes is expected to release her decision today on how long it will be before Klein is eligible to apply for parole.

The Crown argued at the sentencing hearing last month that Klein should serve at least 18 years before he can apply for release, while his lawyer says parole eligibility should be set at 12 years.

Klein was diagnosed with schizophrenia in the months after he stabbed the girls multiple times but was rejected for a defence of not criminally responsible because of a mental disorder.

Reimer’s father, who spoke at the sentencing hearing, expressed doubts that Klein would receive a fit sentence for the damage caused to his family by his daughter’s death.

Klein will also be given the chance to address the victims’ friends and family at today’s hearing.

6Jul

2 men tried to lure 3 kids into a car on Sunday, say Abbotsford police

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VANCOUVER —
The Abbotsford Police Department is investigating a possible child luring attempt.

In a statement, the department said that three kids were playing at a park at 36232 Lower Sumas Mountain Road on Sunday when two men are alleged to have approached them around 7:30 p.m.

“While playing, two adult men approached the youth and engaged in conversation,” reads the statement, released by Sgt. Judy Baird.

“One of the males said he was a professional hockey player and knew the children’s mother.”

During the conversation, one of the men is alleged to have invited the kids to get in his car and drive to his house where, he said, there would be other children to play with.

“The eldest child was uncomfortable with the conversation, grabbed her siblings and ran home to tell their parents,” reads the statement.

One suspect is described as a white man of medium build, in his 30s, and about 5’9”. He has short brown hair, with three stripes shaved on each side of his head, and was wearing a grey hoody, navy blue jogging pants, black running shoes, and carrying two hockey sticks.

The second suspect is described as a South Asian man with short dark hair and a goatee. He was wearing a black T-shirt, white shorts, black flip-flops and had a tattoo on his upper right arm.

The second suspect is “associated with” a small black, four-door sedan with tinted windows.

Anyone with CCTV or dashcam footage of this area or who has information about the incident is asked to call the Abbotsford Police Department at 604-859-5225 and quote file number 2021-29234. 

7May

Stranger told teen girl ‘your mom sent me,’ police say of suspicious incident in Abbotsford

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VANCOUVER —
Police are looking for witnesses and a suspect following what they’re calling a “suspicious incident” in Abbotsford.

Officers said a 14-year-old girl was waiting to be picked up Friday morning when a driver pulled up to her where she stood on Mouat Drive.

It was reported that the driver said to her, “Your mom sent me. I am here to pick you up.”

The high school student reported that she knew it was untrue, so she turned and walked away.

The driver parked nearby for a short time, Abbotsford police said in a statement later in the day, then drove off, heading east.

The man has been described as South Asian and in his 40s or 50s. He has short, dark hair with some grey, which was gelled back at the time, and his hairline is receding, police said.

They described his face as round and with no facial hair.

The teen told police he had some kind of accent and his English was poor.

The vehicle, which was captured on security camera video, has been described as a grey, four-door sedan with an “N” decal on the back, near the licence plate, suggesting a novice driver uses the vehicle at times.

Anyone in the area around 10:20 a.m. on Friday who may have witnessed the incident or captured dashcam video is asked to contact police. Officers are also looking to speak to anyone who recognizes the vehicle, or has CCTV video.

7May

Abbotsford Police investigate luring incident involving 14-year-old girl

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Police say the driver told her: “Your mom sent me. I am here to pick you up.”

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Abbotsford Police are investigating after a man tried to lure a 14-year-old student into a vehicle.

Police said the incident occurred on Mouat Drive just after 10:20 a.m. on May 7 when a grey sedan pulled up to where the girl was waiting to be picked up and the driver told her: “Your mom sent me. I am here to pick you up.”

The student knew this wasn’t true and walked away.

The driver parked nearby for a short time before leaving, heading eastbound on Mouat Drive.

He is described as South Asian, in his 40’s and 50’s with short dark hair, with grey, that was slicked back with gel, a receding hairline, and round face. The student said the man spoke with an accent.

The vehicle had an “n” on the back beside the license plate.

Police are asking people who witnessed the incident, recognize the vehicle, or have CCTV or dash-cam footage to contact Abbotsford Police at 604-859-5225.

chchan@postmedia.com

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30Apr

B.C. woman with heart condition verbally accosted over disabled parking stall – Abbotsford News

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Not judging someone based on their appearance is a lesson commonly taught to children – and one a Parksville woman wants members of the community to remember.

On Wednesday (April 28) Kim Cooper, 53, pulled into a designated disability stall at a Parksville parking lot when a woman began to aggressively yell at her.

“I wasn’t even completely parked, my sign was on my dash where it always is. And I opened my door and said ‘are you yelling at me?’ And she said ‘yes, where’s your handicap sign?’ And I went ‘it’s on my dash.’ And she just kept going on and on and on.”

Cooper survived a heart attack approximately 10 years ago and has lived with congestive heart failure ever since, a chronic and progressive condition that affects the pumping power of her heart. Living with such a condition can leave her winded while walking long distances, which can stress her heart and further exacerbate her condition.

Due to the nature of her condition, she has a disabled parking permit that allows her to park in the designated stalls near a building’s entrance.

“I was going to the dry cleaners, and she’s complaining about me in Bosley’s, and I went to open the door at the dry cleaners and she attacked me again.”

While still visibly distraught, the co-owner of Bosley’s by Pet Valu, Brianne Carson, approached Cooper and offered to walk her back to her vehicle.

“And I just burst into tears. She probably spent 35 minutes with me. I mean, I was just shaking,” said Cooper. “And it’s not right. I think we need to address the situation that ‘hey, not everybody has a visible handicap’.”

“To judge someone based on what we see is something we teach our children not to do, so as adults we shouldn’t be doing that either,” said Carson.

The chair for the Accessible Oceanside Association, Sandra Hobson, said while experiences like Cooper’s are uncommon, they are not unheard of.

“There are certainly instances where somebody who has a has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or a heart condition – they may not be able to walk the length of the parking lot. And they need those accessible spaces,” she said.

“It could also just be someone who’s really sick, or they’re recovering from a surgery. Even if it’s temporary, it might not be visible but it still is genuine.”

Hobson said that while we think we’re not an ableist society, many instances show we are. Such a mentality may cause people with genuine disabilities hesitate to claim the services they require, simply so they’re not seen as playing the system.

“The more stigma there is, the less people are likely to claim very necessary services,” she said, noting such behaviour can injure a person’s self-esteem and cause them to feel further devalued.

As identified by SPARC BC, the organization to manage B.C.’s Parking Permit Program, someone who needs to park close to a building entrance because their health prevents them from walking far would qualify them for a parking pass permit. On their website it states that a parking pass permit for people with disabilities ensures that a person with mobility limitations can park in one of the designated parking stalls throughout British Columbia.

As per their application form, all applications require a referral from the applicant’s doctor.

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22Apr

Judge to rule on criminal responsibility of man who stabbed two Abbotsford students

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Gabriel Klein was convicted last year for the murder of 13-year-old Letisha Reimer and the aggravated assault of her friend in the rotunda of Abbotsford Senior Secondary in 2016.

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NEW WESTMINSTER — A British Columbia Supreme Court judge is expected to deliver her decision today over whether a man who stabbed two high school students is not criminally responsible because he had a mental disorder.

Gabriel Klein was convicted last year for the murder of 13-year-old Letisha Reimer and the aggravated assault of her friend in the rotunda of Abbotsford Senior Secondary in 2016.

Klein, who has schizophrenia, applied for a hearing over criminal responsibility as sentencing was set to begin in September and he later testified that he believed he was stabbing a witch and a monster.

His lawyer has argued that he should not be held criminally responsible because he did not have the capacity to appreciate the consequences of his actions or understand that they were wrong.

If the judge dismisses that argument, the case will proceed to sentencing.

If she finds Klein not criminally responsible, his lawyer will ask that his case be sent to the B.C. Review Board to determine the next steps for his confinement.

16Dec

MAID litigant says disability doesn’t make her vulnerable to pressure to end her life – Abbotsford News

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Nicole Gladu has no time for the argument that she’s a vulnerable person who needs to be protected from being coerced into seeking a medically assisted death.

The 75-year-old Quebecer uses a wheelchair due to post-polio syndrome, a degenerative condition that has over the past 25 years reactivated childhood scoliosis, weakened her muscles, distorted her body and made it hard to breathe.

But she still lives independently in a 14th-floor condo with a beautiful view and cherishes her autonomy — including the right to seek medical help to end her suffering when she decides it has become intolerable.

Gladu is one of two Quebecers who successfully challenged the constitutionality of the federal law’s stipulation that medical assistance in dying (MAID) can only be provided to people whose natural death is “reasonably foreseeable.”

As a result of the court ruling in her case, the Trudeau government has introduced Bill C-7, now before the Senate, to expand access to MAID for people who are not at the end of life.

Gladu dismisses as paternalistic critics who argue that the bill leaves vulnerable people with disabilities open to being pressured — either directly or indirectly through societal attitudes and a lack of support services — into receiving MAID.

“Vulnerability is a concept used ad nauseam by paternalistic people in good health (for) standing in the way of MAID,” Gladu says.

She’s equally dismissive of the argument — advanced by disability-rights groups and echoed by the majority of Conservative MPs — that the bill sends a message that life with a disability is not worth living.

“My life journey (75 years) proves that a handicap can stimulate a person to move back her limits.”

Gladu spoke to The Canadian Press through emails because she was not feeling well enough for a phone interview.

Neither Gladu nor Jean Truchon, whose cerebral palsy had led him to lose the use of all four limbs, was eligible for an assisted death because they were not near the ends of their lives. They went to court to challenge the “foreseeable death” provision in the federal law and a similar provision in the Quebec law.

Last fall, Quebec Superior Court Justice Christine Baudouin struck down the foreseeable-death requirement and Quebec’s end-of-life requirement as violations of the pair’s charter rights to equal treatment under the law and to life, liberty and security of the person.

Bill C-7 is intended to bring the federal law into compliance with that ruling. It would scrap the foreseeable-death requirement but set up two tracks for eligibility for MAID: one with somewhat relaxed rules for those who are near death and a second with more stringent rules for those who are not.

Gladu says the bill is more or less consistent with Baudouin’s ruling, although she notes that it would impose a short delay — 90 days — on assessing MAID requests from those not near death.

The bill has triggered strenuous objections from disability-rights groups and Conservative politicians, who maintain that people with debilitating disabilities are being discriminated against, singled out for MAID when they are not at the end of life and, thus, effectively being told that their lives are not of equal value.

They argue that many people with disabilities are marginalized, living in poverty and without the support services that would make their lives more fulfilling. For such people, choosing MAID is not a real choice, they contend.

But Gladu doesn’t fit that description — which in part explains Baudouin’s conclusion that each case must be assessed on its merits, that a blanket exclusion of people who aren’t at the natural end of their lives is a violation of their charter rights.

Gladu says she has never missed anything needed for a full life. In her youth, her father, a teacher, gave her books that became her “passport to travel through life, expanding my imagination so I could dream my life before living my dreams.”

Because of polio, contracted when she was four, Gladu was initially home-schooled. But she eventually went to university, became a journalist and worked abroad in Paris and then New York, where she was a press attaché at the United Nations before returning to Quebec to retire.

“I am grateful to have lived my retirement on the 14th floor of a condominium building, which offers not only all the necessities, but also a breathtaking view of the river that mirrors the beauty of the sunsets,” she says.

“My atypical journey is proof, I believe, of a very autonomous character, which will culminate with death.”

Until the law is changed to scrap the end-of-life criterion, Baudouoin gave Gladu and Truchon, and others in similar positions, the right to seek individual court exemptions to receive MAID.

Truchon, 51, died with medical assistance in April.

Gladu has not availed herself of the procedure but she says it gives her peace of mind knowing it’s an option as her condition deteriorates.

As she said immediately after Baudouin’s ruling: “Now, it’s really a matter of personal decision. It’s up to me or it’s up to Mr. Truchon or other people like us to decide if we prefer the quality of life to the quantity of life.”

Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press

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14Jul

Abbotsford family raising funds for custom trailer for daughter with severe allergies

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ABBOTSFORD, B.C. —
Katie Hobson’s home for the past two years has been her 1995 Ford Ranger pickup, with a small motorcycle cargo trailer attached to the back.

The 36-year-old former teacher is now living in a remote area near Cranbrook with her dog, Chester. Part of the reason for her isolation: severe environmental sensitivities that cause debilitating migraines. She also suffers from a number of other medical conditions, and for a time needed a PICC line, or catheter to the vein, inserted to be able to take regular intravenous medications.

“It’s a challenge for anybody who’s homeless to be in the elements,” Hobson told CTV. “And then for myself, with the added medical issues that I have, like the migraines and the allergies to everything, it just pushes homelessness to this whole new level of what feels like a complete impossibility.”

Hobson does not have heat, plumbing, or power. She is not able to stay at campsites or parks due to the odours that will trigger her migraines. In the winters, she’s driven down into the U.S. to avoid the cold.

“Last year, for example, in this area where I’m at, Chester and I made it till about middle of October, and then the temperatures dropped to minus 13,” Hobson said. “It was just so cold.”

Hobson’s mother Ronda said prior to becoming homeless, her daughter had been renting a place in Sechelt which did not aggravate her allergies, but the house was sold.

“At that same time she got sepsis from her PICC line,” Ronda said. “Between those two things, she’s not been able to find a place to be able to tolerate and to live in, especially since the sepsis, because her sensitivities are even worse than they’ve been.”

Ronda said Hobson was an incredible teacher who specialized in high school English, but ultimately had to go on permanent disability after a year due to her allergies.

“That was very hard for her,” Ronda said. “Katie is just a really incredible woman. She really is very gifted. She writes music, she plays her guitar….I just would like to see her live out her special life with her condition, to be able to live it to the fullest that she can.”

Now an online fundraiser is collecting donations to help improve Hobson’s living situation, including finding her a more reliable vehicle and ordering a custom self-contained trailer.

Bud Stephenson with All Parts Trailers is helping coordinate the special order with an American manufacturer.

“It’s going to be almost all metal inside. Very, very little of anything else,” Stephenson said, and added they have to avoid using plastic due to Hobsons sensitivities. “This one she’ll be able to hook onto a regular smaller pickup truck and move it around at will.”

Stephenson said they’ve never ordered a trailer with those unique specifications before. He also said a surge in demand for trailers during the pandemic has slowed down the process.

“We’re way behind,” Stephenson said, and noted the maker of the trailer they’re ordering was also shut down for two months. “So they’re catching up.”

He’s hoping the order may be placed by this week, and then expects it will take about ten weeks to arrive.

Hobson’s mother said having the self-contained trailer where her daughter could comfortably live year-round would “mean the world.”

“It would mean a lot,” Ronda said, on the verge of tears. “It just has never felt safe. Every time she left Canada to go south, my heart broke as a mom.”

Ronda said they’re also hoping to find a piece of land where she can set up her home long-term, and added Hobson also plans to prepare her home to be off-grid, in case there are no water or power hookups.

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