A night of fear eased by community concern

Clayton business owner says she and her staff were overwhelmed by the caring response of regulars after shots were fired into the bakery.

COBS Bread at Clayton Crossing.

When a series of shots blasted through the window of a popular Clayton business two weekends ago, it was a terrifying act of violence that interrupted the night shift at a local bakery and caught revelers leaving their local pub by surprise.

No one was injured in the July 12 incident at Clayton Crossing that Surrey RCMP are calling a random act, but “the shock of a shooting is very traumatic,” says Special Cst. Dennis Bell, a community safety officer with Surrey RCMP who is a familiar face to business owners and residents in the neighbourhood. After the initial police investigation wrapped up, Bell was among those offering support and sympathy to COBS Bread owner Leanne Hosler and her staff.

Another employee was just arriving on the scene for the start of a shift when several shots were fired into the window of the bakery, located at #103 18775 Fraser Highway, just after 2 a.m.

A baker was who working alone at the time was not hurt. Meanwhile, the parking lot was filling up with patrons spilling out from Dublin Crossing pub, a Saturday night crowd that was unaware of the potential danger unleashed by stray bullets fired from 188 Street.

It’s fortunate no one was hurt.

“For sure we were scared,” says Hosler, who was called to her business as police responded.

“I think everyone’s startled. You think, it doesn’t happen close to home, but crime is everywhere,” she told The Reporter.

It didn’t take long for news to spread to “our community on the hill,” she said.

By 7 a.m., regulars and neighbours were showing up to see if everyone was okay.

“They came up in their pyjamas. They came up first thing in the morning to see if there was anything they could do and anything we needed,” says Hosler.

“Our phone rang, non-stop. We weren’t prepared. So many people cared.”

Some of the regulars brought fresh fruit, a touching gesture that boosted spirits, she added.

“It’s not fun, yeah,” she said, recalling the stress of the incident and its immediate aftermath.

Violence “is something to be concerned about,” Hosler said. “But the community itself cares a lot about where we live and will do anything to support each other. It was awesome.”

She’s also very grateful to staff for their exceptional response, calmly ensuring the establishment was fully functional within just a few hours.

Hosler is also grateful for the ongoing support of the Cloverdale/Port Kells District 4 office of the Surrey RCMP.

As a business owner at Clayton Crossing, Hosler participates in community policing initiatives, such as monthly breakfast meetings where businesses can raise concerns with police and keep up-to-date.

“We know the world’s a big place,” she said. “Crime exists. We like to be aware, and to share. The community should know that we meet, we talk as a group [of merchants], we pay attention. That keeps us all safer.”

In speaking out about the incident, Hosler said she wanted the wider community to know about the outpouring of concern and support, and to share “a nice positive.”

“Our community police are awesome,” she says, recalling how Cst. Bell performed a follow up after the initial incident.

“We stay pretty close. When times like this happen, yes, it’s unfortunate, but the community pulls together.”

Hosler and her husband purchased the business in 2010.

She says it’s important to not feel paralyzed by crime, and instead channel energy into knowing your customers, neighbours and to become involved with community policing initiatives.

“We talk to our regulars,” she said.

“We meet with community police. We talk about things to watch. There are eyes out there. We are there to protect each other and to support each other.”

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