Vigil set for man killed by Transit Police in Surrey Safeway

WHALLEY — 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 Woods’ behaviour leading up to his death was speculated as caused by mental illness or stress.

“It was really difficult for family members to have Naverone talked about the way he was in the media,” she said. “They’re very encouraged that people would want to have this public vigil and public support of him.”

A Facebook page for the vigil says his family describes Woods as a “truly a gentle spirit” who “was respectful to all he came into contact with.”

They add he “brought happiness and laughter wherever he went.”

“All 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,” 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 “advanced on the members with the knife,” 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.

Woods’ 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

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