For many of us, the escalating gun violence in Surrey is a headline, or a statistic.
But for residents south of the Fraser it’s a daily reality, and for some is hitting terrifyingly close to home.
People like Spencer Kearns, a Surrey father of four who joined Lynda Steele today to share his story about being smashed over the head with a gun last week.
Kearns says it happened last Thursday afternoon, while he was a at a pawn shop about a block from Surrey City Hall looking for DVDs for his kids.
“Next thing I know I hear the door open, these two guys come in with bandanas covering their face, and one guy points a gun right at me… and I think this is almost a gag or something.”
He says the shopkeeper locked himself behind a secure barrier, so the thieves turned their attention on him, taking his bag with his wallet in it.
“And on the way out, one of the guys hit me with his gun, cracked me open for a few staples.”
Kearns says he’s lived in the city for 39 years, and never seen it as bad as it is now.
“Surrey in the last five years has gotten way out of hand. The stuff I see on a regular basis is just you know… it’s not just the fact of my safety, but what about my kids? Is this the right situation for them?”
He says he’s thought about moving, but is furious that he should be the one that has to leave because of the crime.
“But why should I have to move out of a place I’ve lived my whole life just because this crap’s getting out of control? Something’s got to be done against the whole gun violence thing.”
Kearns says he feels like criminals are getting away with a slap on the wrist, and as a result are treating the gun situation like a game. He says he wants to see stiffer penalties.
“You look at all these gunshots and what not and people shooting left and right. You’re shooting at someone, you basically want to take their life. So that should be at least 25 years.”
He says he knows there’s more cops on the street, but they don’t seem to be able to do anything about it… and that he’s not confident they’ll catch his attackers.
“They basically just said you know what, we’ve got all of your information and hopefully things come up and we can deal with them for you, but that’s basically the only answer I got.”
By the latest count, there have been 32 shootings in Surrey since the beginning of 2016. There were 47 in all of 2015.