They came bearing flowers of many colours as the rain kept falling.
Men, women and children. Old and young. Under umbrellas. Most wearing facemasks.
The drops of water on their cheeks were not from the clouds above.
They walked by a window that displayed a Mavis Gallant quote: “A short story is what you see when you look out the window.”
The library was empty and dark. Nobody was looking out the windows.
When all the facts are known about the most-horrific day ever in this middle class North Vancouver community, the story will not be short.
The flowers stretched across the gap between the North Vancouver District Library and the Brown’s Social House. Both closed on this dreary spring Sunday afternoon. There were signs on the exterior of the restaurant, seemingly made by children: “Love to Lynn Valley. Peace to Lynn Valley.”
A small card in a plastic bag, beside the flowers read: “You are my sunshine, thank-you,”
The restaurant and the library were both a haven of activity some 24 hours earlier, until something went horribly wrong.
Violence and hate took over sometime after 1 p.m. on March 27. A woman in her 20s, dead of stab wounds. Another six seriously injured. Countless others in shock from what they saw unfold before their eyes. Nobody had seen so many ambulances in Lynn Valley before.
The names of the heroes will come in due course.
For now, the name of the man charged with second degree murder. Yannick Bandaogo, 28.
“[Bandaogo’s] background, history in BC and relationship to the victims, if any, is still being determined,” according to the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team.
“Investigators, supported by the North Vancouver RCMP Investigative Services Team, are managing priority tasks, processing the scene, conducting witness statements and completing an extensive video canvass of the area.”
Before he was arrested, Bandaogo stabbed himself on Lynn Valley Road, in a crosswalk. Why did he stab others? Why did he stab himself? He underwent surgery.
He appears in a YouTube video from 2012 set in a Longeuil, Que. boxing gym called Techno Boxe. Little else is immediately known.
IHIT spokesman Sgt. Frank Jang initially said he was known to police, but did not explain. Bandaogo does not appear to have a rap sheet in B.C.
Maybe that will be answered when officials give more details on March 29. Maybe it will have to wait until a trial.
Same goes for the motive. Why would anyone cause so much pain and fear?
A sandwich board from the previous day’s book sale doubles as a holder for the yellow police tape.
Only the Zazou hair salon was open for the day. That’s on the east side of the Lynn Valley Village complex. On the west side, beside a fenced compound of construction materials, a lone, potted flower yet to bloom, beneath a sign dampened by the rain. “For Emma, Speedy Recovery.”
Inside a heart it says “To the fallen, March 27, 2021.”
Too many have fallen in Lynn Valley. In June 2018, a mother and child from an immigrant family died in an apartment fire, to the south of the mall.
A couple blocks to the west is the Lynn Valley Care Centre. The tragic site of the first death of the coronavirus pandemic in Canada in March 2020. There were a total of 20.
And now, March 27, 2021.
More than ever, Lynn Valley needs love and peace to heal the hurt.
If you were affected by the events of March 27 in Lynn Valley, North Shore Emergency Management is offering a drop-in resilience and wellness centre at the Karen Magnussen Community Recreation Centre, with counsellors on-duty 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Click here for more information.
Bob Mackin was a Lynn Valley resident from 2002 to 2014.
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