Probe Into Border Shooter
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SEATTLE (AP) — Investigators are learning more about the 32-year-old Washington state tattoo artist who wounded an unarmed Canadian border guard and then killed himself — but they’re still trying to find out why.
Canadian officials said Wednesday that Officer Lori Bowcock was on her way to a full recovery. She was shot in the neck Tuesday afternoon at a busy U.S.-Canada crossing north of Seattle.
Andrew Michael Crews of Seattle was driving a van into Canada when he fired at Bowcock in her booth, then turned the gun on himself, authorities said. Crews died at the scene.
His stepfather, Danny Lupinek of Henderson, Nev., said Wednesday that Crews texted his mother hours before the shooting to say he loved her — and was sorry.
Lupinek said Crews didn’t explain what he meant in his text, and the family was unable to reach him after that. He said Crews had given no indication he was upset or headed to Canada.
“This investigation remains in the early stages and investigators are attempting to determine a motive,” Superintendent Kevin Hackett of the British Columbia homicide investigation team handling the probe said Wednesday.
“The current evidence clearly indicates that prior to taking his own life, Mr. Crews deliberately fired at the victim,” Hackett said in a statement. “There is no evidence, however, to suggest the victim was specifically targeted.”
He did not elaborate.
The investigation team was treating the case as an attempted murder.
Agents with Homeland Security Investigations were assisting British Columbia authorities by following leads on the U.S. side of the border, said Andrew Munoz, spokesman for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Bowcock remained hospitalized Thursday in British Columbia, and Canada Border Services Agency spokeswoman Faith St. John described her condition as improving.
“She is in stable condition and is expected to make a full recovery,” Roslyn MacVicar, the agency’s Pacific regional director, said Wednesday in a statement. “Her mother and brothers are by her side.”
Bowcock worked as a civilian dispatcher at police headquarters in London, Ontario, until last spring. As a new border guard, she had not yet completed training that would allow her to carry a gun, the Border Services Agency said.
Crews had lived in the Bremerton area but recently moved to the Seattle area.
Friends said Crews had worked at a Lucky Boys tattoo parlor in Silverdale, near Bremerton, and Lupinek confirmed that his stepson had worked as a tattoo artist. Lucky Boys’ phone rang unanswered late Wednesday.
“He’s nice. He’s just really down to earth,” tattoo client Courtnee Riggs told KOMO-TV of Seattle. “He seemed normal and happy and liked punk rock. It’s just crazy.”
KING-TV reported Crews also had worked at Under the Needle Tattoo in Seattle. A man who answered the phone there declined to comment.
Several TV stations talked with Keith Munyon of Marysville, Wash., identified as a cousin of Crews.
“It doesn’t make sense to me,” Munyon told reporters, adding his cousin seemed like “a loving guy” and “mellow-mannered.”
Immediately after the shooting, officers swarmed the scene and closed the Peace Arch border crossing as they interviewed witnesses and searched for clues. Investigators blocked off the area around Bowcock’s booth with yellow crime-scene tape and examined Crews’ white van, which sat with its back doors open revealing a mattress inside.
Kevin McAllister, assistant general manager at the Peace Portal Golf Course, which is adjacent to the border crossing, said an employee and several guests told him they had heard two shots fired.
The Peace Arch border about 100 miles north of Seattle is the third-busiest between the United States and Canada. Last month, it averaged 9,000 U.S.-bound cars a day, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Canadian officials reopened the crossing’s southbound lanes Wednesday afternoon and northbound lanes Thursday morning.
Drivers had been detoured to other crossings, including the nearby Pacific Highway crossing, said U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Mike Milne.
Associated Press writer Kathy McCarthy contributed to this report.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.