NEWS
06/13/2014 01:23 EDT | Updated 08/12/2014 05:59 EDT

Gerald Battersby before Yaletown shooting: 'They took away my dignity'

The man charged in Tuesday's dramatic shooting in Yaletown talked about committing suicide just days earlier after telling his employer, "They took away my dignity."

Gerald Battersby is expected to make his first appearance in Vancouver provincial court today, charged with the attempted murders of Reckless Bike Stores owner Paul Dragan and five police officers who were engaged by a gunman in a shootout Tuesday.

Dragan was shot across the street from his store and is currently in hospital in critical, but stable condition.

Colin Barkhouse says it was only a month ago when he hired Battersby from the Lookout shelter in North Vancouver where he often goes to hire casual labour. He says Battersby hounded him for work, so he gave him a job pouring concrete

About 10 days ago, Battersby was told his time was up at the Lookout and he had to leave, according to Barkhouse.

On Sunday, two days before the shootings in Yaletown, Barkhouse says Battersby came by to collect his last pay check. He says Battersby was now living on the streets of Vancouver — possibly somewhere on the Downtown Eastside

Barkhouse says Battersby also told him his belongings had been dumped from the house he rented. The house was owned by Dragan, Battersby's ex-employer.

Battersby "went ballistic"

Battersby's brother Carl told CBC News the belongings had been removed from the house and placed under a tarp. However, someone came by and ordered it dumped.

Barkhouse says Battersby "went ballistic" when he found out because he claimed he had camera gear in some of the bags that were disposed of. CBC News was shown what appeared to be self-made business cards describing Battersby as a photographer as well as a drummer.

He told Barkhouse, "They took away my dignity and I'm going to jump off a bridge."

Barkhouse says he was "totally shocked" to hear about the shooting. He says Battersby appeared to be a "very gentle, well mannered man who seemed to be somewhat mentally challenged. Barkhouse says Battersby would sing Sunday school songs while he worked.

According to his brother, Battersby's behaviour was becoming increasingly erratic and he also thought he might  be suffering from mental health issues.

"He says, ' Don't be surprised if you hear I've gone and killed somebody. That's what he said.…Talking about wanting to kill cops and people in high power. His mind just snapped on him as far as I know."

He said his brother Gerald was let go from his job at Reckless Bikes last year, and was then evicted this April from the home he rented from Dragan, the shop owner. 

Barkhouse says he is also curious how Battersby was allegedly able to get a gun.