Cully Taplin claims to have heard a gunshot at the Oxford Street and Goggs Avenue intersection. Tracy Holmes photo

Cully Taplin claims to have heard a gunshot at the Oxford Street and Goggs Avenue intersection. Tracy Holmes photo

Surrey man questions goose death

Bus driver reports hearing shot fired, police suspect blown transformer

A Surrey bus driver says he’s disappointed with the RCMP’s response after he reported that a Canada goose was shot dead in White Rock last week.

Cully Taplin, who drives for Coast Mountain Bus Company, told Peace Arch News he was driving his bus north on Oxford Street April 24 at 2:35 p.m. and saw eight to 10 geese taking flight with “an obvious sense of urgency.”

“My gaze followed down right to left then I heard the gun…. Having fired a gun years ago at a firing range through a friend, I knew the sound right away,” Taplin said last week, speculating that the shooter was behind hedges and using the sound of the bus to mask the gunshot.

The bus driver said he contacted transit communications at 2:45 p.m. to advise them of the situation, who then contacted White Rock RCMP.

After his shift, Taplin said he went back to the intersection at 8:10 p.m. and found a dead Canada goose.

“It was on the ground. I picked it up and turned it over and it had been shot in the underbelly. Its entrails were hanging out,” he said.

Taplin phoned the RCMP.

“The officer had said there had been a transformer blow. Well, approaching the age of 58 this year, I have heard and seen many a transformer blow in my years and this was nowhere near the sound. There was no accompanying light show and Canada geese do not perch. If they are not in flight they are on the ground,” Taplin said.

“I’m not buying that at all.”

Taplin said he returned to the intersection last Friday and found no evidence of a blown transformer.

“I’m sticking with gunshot,” he said. “I want to know the cause of death. I really wouldn’t take the RCMP at their word, I think they (messed) up on this one.”

RCMP Const. Chantal Sears said Tuesday that according to the police file, an officer responded to the call at approximately 3 p.m. and spoke with construction workers in the area who reported hearing a noise, and that the site supervisor said it could have been a transformer as there was a power outage.

“Hydro confirmed that the transformer blew at approximately 1430 hours and there was a power outage at that time,” Sears said.

BC Hydro told PAN Monday that they have no record indicating a transformer blew near the Oxford Street and Goggs Avenue intersection on April 24, and an online map does not indicate any power outage in the area.

Sears said police have notified City of White Rock’s animal control and bylaw department to determine if the bird had been shot.

“At this point, we contacted animal control to go pick up the dead goose and we haven’t heard back, as far as I know, in regards to anything out of the ordinary,” she said.

Calls to animal control have received no response.