The Award of Merit is bestowed by the Vancouver Police Board to citizens who, voluntarily face actual or anticipated danger, and made an attempt at saving a life or have assisted the police in preventing a crime, or in apprehending or attempting to apprehend an offender.
For rushing toward danger to assist a critically injured co-worker and putting himself directly in harm’s way to help police officers stop a violent man, Mr. Irfan Elahi is awarded the Vancouver Police Board’s highest award for civilian bravery, the Award of Merit. For resisting the efforts of a dangerous man clearly intent on obtaining a firearm, and despite suffering serious, life-altering injuries, Mr. Joe De Jesus is also awarded the Vancouver Police Board’s highest award for civilian bravery, the Award of Merit.
Irfan Elahi were awarded for their actions in the face of a violent attack at the Bentall Street Canadian Tire store in November 2016. De Jesus, who was working in the hunting and firearm section, was seriously injured when a man started smashing glass cabinets in an attempt to get a rifle. Elahi, the store’s loss prevention officer, called 911 and followed the man out of the store, and started kicking the assailant as police officers fought to apprehend the man.
On November 10, 2016, a man entered the Canadian Tire Store on Bentall Street and caught the attention of Irfan Elahi, the store’s loss prevention officer. The man was dressed in camouflage and immediately went to the hunting and firearm section of the store. The manager of the section, Joe De Jesus, saw the man and quickly locked up a rifle he was working on. The man began smashing the glass cabinets. Joe confronted him and was pepper-sprayed, but still persisted in trying to stop the assailant from obtaining a rifle. Joe was then slashed with a heavy knife from the back of his neck, along his throat, and up to his chin. People were screaming and yelling for help, as Irfan called 9-1-1 and rushed to Joe’s side to render aid.
When the suspect removed a rifle from the smashed cabinet, Irfan feared he was about to go on a shooting rampage. He left Joe in another co-worker’s care and followed the man, giving real-time updates to the 9-1-1 operator. As he was leaving the area, the suspect grabbed an elderly man and forced him out of the store, just as two police officers arrived. The constables fought to apprehend the assailant, who produced a knife and began stabbing one of them. As the officers struggled to break free, Irfan began kicking the suspect repeatedly, who then tried to stab him. More officers arrived and were ultimately able to stop the attack. Both the staff member and the police officer received very serious life-threatening injuries but survived.