Calgary man shot resisting attack in Mexican RV park.
By Jamie Komarnicki, Calgary HeraldMarch 6, 2010
A Calgary man vacationing in Mexico with his wife was shot after two gunmen stormed the couple's RV in the dead of night.
Yves Guay, 52, is recovering in a hospital after undergoing surgery Friday, said his wife, Sharon Guay, 53.
"The last 12 hours have been the most terrifying of my life," she said in a cellphone interview from Mazatlan.
The semi-retired couple have been spending their holidays at the Las Jaibas Trailer Park for the past six years, driving their RV from Calgary to Mazatlan, on the Pacific Coast.
Late Thursday night, they were awakened by a knock at their RV door. At first, they thought it was the police as the men apparently had a crest of some sort on their chest, Sharon said. But the men pushed open the door, their guns raised.
Yves managed to heave the first man out of the trailer. When he looked up, the second intruder had a gun pointed at his head, Sharon said.
"That's when I started screaming."
Yves lunged at the second man. As he was pushing him to the ground, a shot was fired, striking Yves.
Sharon slammed the RV door shut, turned on all the lights and started honking the horn for help. She thought her husband was dead.
Neighbours soon arrived and helped Yves, who had been shot through the upper part of his right leg, to the hospital. Heavily armed police arrived, but the suspects were long gone, she said.
Meanwhile, the guard on duty at the RV camp had been tied up and threatened, Sharon later learned.
Authorities have indicated to the Guays the violence is likely due to Mexico's escalating drug wars. Sharon says she feels as though she and her husband were targeted.
Although the family has vacationed for many years in Mexico, they no longer feel safe there, she said.
"After this experience I don't think I'll ever come back."
Back home, the couple's daughter, Natasha Phipps, learned the awful news her father had been shot.
The 27-year-old spent most of the day Friday keeping other family members informed about what happened.
Although she's worried for her parents' safety, she's also concerned about how this latest incident could impact Mexico's fragile tourism industry, which has been hit hard in recent years by a war between rival drug gangs and a number of violent incidents involving tourists.
"We had heard about these types of things going on . . . it was always like, if you weren't involved in that, you weren't endangered," Phipps said.
"With this happening, I think people are going to have a really different mindset."
Sharon says her husband will have to stay in the hospital for several more days to recover. They're making plans to fly back to Calgary, since the long drive would be too difficult for Yves.
She said she wants anyone else travelling to the area to be aware of the potential danger.
Last night was dinner in restaurant "La Costa" in La Paz, Baja California, Mexico with local resident and good friend Alonso Lopez and his beautiful partner Irma.
He was asked how is crime in La Paz.
Yes, Alonso said, there is crime here and it is worse than some years before.
For two reasons.
The city of La Paz is growing rapidly and many people come to live here from the mainland.
They have no special connection with the city yet and that makes some of these people go the way of crime to have an income.
The other reason is that economic times are very harsh on people.
Many are without a job while they have a family to feed.
But in La Paz crime has also become more extreme.
Last week at 2 am some guys enjoying a beer on a terrace on the Malecon, the boulevard along the sea, were approached by a man who got a gun out of his belt, shot one and tried to kill the others too.
And two weeks ago somewhere in La Paz two policemen were killed.
However, in daily life in La Paz, nothing can be noticed of any crime.
There is no special presence of policemen.
Everything goes its way in a relaxed and peaceful way.
Never anybody molests in the street.
Of course there is crime in Mexico.
And in certain areas it is real bad.
But in places like Mazatlan and La Paz, there is hardly any crime towards tourists.
In exceptional cases it happens and those events are published in newspapers in the USA, Canada and Europe.
The danger is that the case then is blown out of proportion.
That the rare incident is made as an example for supposedly massive crime anywhere in Mexico against all tourists.
However, one plane crashing doesn't mean that flying is dangerous.
Pay also attention how the incident is rather sensationalized by Canadian journalist Jamie Komarnicki and reported in a subjective way.
The whole story is based on talking to the couple and the daughter only.
No investigations were made on location in Mexico nor anybody there has been interviewed.
"Two gunmen stormed the couple's RV in the dead of night", Jamie Komarnicki writes as if it was a Hollywood film script.
While the story further on tells the two men politely knocked on the door first.
Good friend Alonso also said that the man in Mazatlan had applied a wrong strategy.
When two guys with a gun come to an RV to rob, the last thing to do is to fight them.
The policy is to open the door and welcome them in.
To offer them to take whatever they want.
What is the value of the stuff they possibly take compared to the value of a human being's life?