WHALLEY â€” A vigil is planned this Saturday (Feb. 28) for a man killed by Transit Police at a Whalley Safeway last year.
The community is honouring Naverone Woods, the 23-year-old man who was fatally shot by police on Dec. 28, 2014.
Vigil organizer Teresa Diewert, of Vancouver-based justice group No One is Illegal, said Woodsâ€™ behaviour leading up to his death was speculated as caused by mental illness or stress.
â€œIt was really difficult for family members to have Naverone talked about the way he was in the media,â€ she said. â€œTheyâ€™re very encouraged that people would want to have this public vigil and public support of him.â€
A Facebook page for the vigil says his family describes Woods as a â€œtruly a gentle spiritâ€ who â€œwas respectful to all he came into contact with.â€
They add he â€œbrought happiness and laughter wherever he went.â€
â€œAll of us are disturbed by his fatal shooting and want to raise important questions about justice, dignity and equality that his killing by Transit police forces us to consider,â€ states the Facebook page.
Transit Police said Surrey RCMP received a call the morning of Dec. 28, 2014 that a man had gone behind a counter at a convenience store near Surrey Central SkyTrain and demanded that an employee give him a knife.
Then, over the radio, police heard a call that there was a man with a knife in a nearby Safeway.
Police say they arrived moments later to find a man repeatedly stabbing himself.
Anne Drennan, a spokesperson for Transit Police, said the man would not drop the weapon and â€œadvanced on the members with the knife,â€ which is when police opened fired on him.
The man was shot and died in hospital.
The Independent Investigations Office of B.C., responsible for investigating officer-involved incidents involving serious injury or death, is investigating.
Woodsâ€™ family and friends are set to speak at the vigil, to be held from 4:30 to 6 p.m. on Feb. 28 at Surrey Central SkyTrain station.
-With files from The Province