Calgarian recovering in Florida hospital after being shot while on vacation in Barbados
CALGARY -- A Calgary man is recovering in a Florida hospital after being left paralyzed in a shooting during an apparent home invasion while vacationing in Barbados.
Ken Elliott was playing Scrabble with his wife, Linda, brother Rob and sister-in-law Mary on Saturday at a home they were renting in the parish of Christ Church, in Barbados, when two men — one armed with a machete and another with a handgun — stormed inside.
Ken and Rob struggled with the men and Ken was shot.
The two men then fled.
Ken was rushed to hospital in Barbados, then flown to a medical centre in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
His spinal cord was severed between the third and fourth vertebrae, leaving him paralyzed from the clavicle down. He does have some movement in his arms, however, according to friend Landon Zabloski.
"Their lives are changed forever," said Zabloski.
"He's got tubes coming out of all different directions. He's got use of his arms from what I understand but he's got a punctured lung. It's just a tough situation."
Surgeons in Florida are currently working to try and remove the bullet.
"It's such a risky procedure to get it out, but they also want it out because they don't want it to cause infection, and the Barbados police want it for evidence," said Zabloski.
Ken retired after 36 years with the city, first as a heavy duty mechanic and then as a foreman.
"This guy was just a hard worker," said Zabloski.
"He worked his whole life, 36 years he worked at the city and was a great leader to all of us, everyone is just heartbroken."
A GoFundMe account has been created to help the couple with medical bills and associated costs, which had raised more than $9,400 as of Tuesday morning.
"I suspect there's going to be costs associated with getting them back home, modifying whatever home they end up, maybe modifying a vehicle," said Zabloski. "We just don't want them to have to think about that."
Barbados attorney general Dale Marshall condemned the home invasion shooting as a "callous" attack.
"This house was not in the tourist belt," he said at a Labour party meeting and reported by Barbados Today.
"This house was in a residential community in Christ Church. Tourism is our bread and butter and Barbados cannot afford to have any negative references made about how safe or unsafe … Barbados has always been felt to be a safe place for visitors and this kind of callous conduct on the part of a few hooligans can threaten the livelihood and the lifeblood of our country."