Shooting victim was new to Canada looking for good life
The victim of an armed robbery and shooting last week at a West Park service station is described as a cheerful, hard-working and loyal young man who came to Canada on his own in May.
“He was always smiley when he was here,” said West Park Fas Gas owner Asif Multari, describing Jaysen Arancon Reyes, 26.
“He is very new in Canada. He is just here for a good life. He is always smiley. When I come at 6 in the morning, he’d say ‘Good morning, boss.’ And he always stayed here until 6:30-6:35, talking with me. He is very good. He always keeps my store clean. He’s that kind of kid,” continued Multari.
Last Wednesday, Reyes was about one hour into his regular overnight shift when, when a man entered the 55th Avenue convenience store with a sawed-off shotgun and demanded money. Despite Reyes handing over money, he was shot in the face and hand.
Jeffrey Lyle Geary, 30, has been charged with attempted murder and other weapons related charges. He appeared in court Monday and is to return to court on Sept. 25.
Multari, who has owned the Fas Gas location since 2011, hired Reyes and brought him to Red Deer in May through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Reyes is originally from the Philippines, where his mother and much of his family still live.
Parkland Fuel Corp., which owns Fas Gas, is hoping to bring family members to Canada in support of Reyes, who remains in hospital in Calgary. On Monday, Parkland spokesman Tom McMillan said the company was trying to track down family members in the Philippines.
A donation box has also been set up at the Fas Gas location, with funds raised to support Reyes’ mother upon her arrival in Canada. A visa still needs to be secured before his mother could visit Canada.
Multari said Monday night he had visited Reyes twice in hospital, and would be heading to Calgary for another visit on Tuesday. On the first visit the day after the incident, Multari said Reyes was not conscious, but on Sunday, he was, and is recovering. He does have, however, serious injuries to his hand and face.
Multari said many people have come into the store to donate to Reyes’ cause, and members of the Filipino communities in Red Deer and Calgary have offered their support to the victim.
The area around the service station is not well lit, and Multari said he has been robbed once prior while working at night. While he has few employees, he said he tries to have them work during the daytime so they feel safe.
“I tell my employees, ‘Don’t go outside at night. Don’t do anything outside. Don’t chase anybody. If he’s taking anything, let him go, Don’t chase. You don’t know how many are outside; don’t do it.’
“I always encourage my employees, ‘Don’t fight with the robber. Give whatever they want. Their life is most important to me,’” said Multari.
Despite what seems to be a recent rash of robberies in the city, the incidence of robberies in Red Deer is actually down in 2013 compared to the year prior, according to RCMP statistics. From the beginning of the year to Sept. 15, 2013, there were 82 robberies in the city, down from 96 from the same period in 2012.
From Sept. 1-15 in 2013, there were eight robberies reported to police, compared to seven from the same period in 2012.
Cpl. Sarah Knelsen said an armed robbery where the suspect actually shoots a victim is not a common occurrence in Red Deer, having not heard of such an instance locally before.
Donations can be sent by mail to the Fas Gas location at 4305 55th Ave., Red Deer, AB, T4N 4N7.