Vigil planned for man killed by transit police in Surrey

A ceremony will be held Saturday for Naverone Woods, 23, who was fatally shot on Dec. 28.

A vigil will be held for the memory of Navarone Woods at Surrey Central SkyTrain Station Saturday evening.

The community is holding a vigil for a young Gitxsan man who was shot to death by a transit police officer late last year.

On Dec. 28, Naverone Woods entered a Safeway at 104 Avenue and King George Boulevard, where he had reportedly gone behind a counter and demanded a knife.

At that time, the Surrey RCMP were also called.

When transit police arrived, Woods, 23, was stabbing himself in the chest with a knife. Police began talking with him and telling him to drop the knife. At one point, the man advanced on officers and shots were fired.

He was rushed to hospital where he died of his injuries.

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is probing the case, as it does all police shootings.

Teresa Diewert, of a Vancouver organization called No One Is Illegal, has had several conversations with Woods’ family, and says his behaviour was completely out of character.

His family describes him as “truly a gentle spirit” who “was respectful to all he came into contact with” and “brought happiness and laughter wherever he went.”

He had been to the hospital the day before to have a sore knee looked at after a golf game.

Some time after that, he was seen having a seizure at a SkyTrain station and was returned to the hospital, and released early the next morning.

That was when he went to the grocery store in an apparent state of distress.

Diewert says the family awaits the coroner’s report, which will hopefully indicate what could have caused Woods’ angst.

The family will be at the vigil on Saturday from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the Surrey Central SkyTrain Station, at 103 Avenue and 135 Street.

Speakers will include  Woods’ family, Union of BC Indian Chiefs Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, and others.