B.C. man slain in Mexico 'stood up' to thieves

The B.C. senior gunned down during a robbery attempt in Mexico had encountered thieves before in the Pacific coast town of Melaque, but never pushed back until last week, his granddaughter said.

Family and friends mourn Robin Wood after shooting death in Melaque

Death in Mexico

11 years ago
Duration 2:26
CBC's Chris Brown reports on the details surrounding the death of a B.C. man on vacation in Mexico and discusses the safety of a Mexican getaway

The B.C. senior gunned down during a robbery attempt in Mexico had encountered thieves before in the Pacific coast town of Melaque, but never pushed back until last week, his granddaughter said.

Canadian consular officials are working closely with authorities in Mexico following the death of Robin Wood, who was shot and killed after challenging two intruders who broke into the vacation home of a friend, Arvid Chalmers.

Heron Pedrick, Wood's granddaughter, told CBC's Ben Hadaway that her grandfather, who was 67, had been robbed in the past in Mexico — his computer was stolen on the street, and someone had broken into his apartment once.

"After all these things, he stood up to them," Pedrick said about the recent incident. "He stood up for himself and … he was killed.


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"He loved Mexican people and loved Mexico, so it is a real shame that it had to end like this," she said.

Police said Wood had attended a concert Tuesday evening, and when he returned to the home around 1 a.m., he found two burglars inside, CBC correspondent Ioan Grillo reported.

Both Wood and Chalmers are from Salt Spring Island in B.C. Chalmers has run a real estate business for 35 years on Salt Spring Island and spends his winters in Mexico.

Late Tuesday, Jean-François Lacelle of Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs told CBC News that consular officials are working on the case, and "stand ready to provide consular assistance to [Wood's] family during this difficult time."

Killings of foreigners still uncommon

Chalmers initially confirmed Wood's death in an email, according to the Salt Spring Island community newspaper the Gulf Islands Driftwood.

"Unfortunately it is true," Chalmers wrote in a brief email from Mexico on Tuesday afternoon. "We had a home invasion …by two robbers, one of whom had a pistol. Robin got involved and was shot as a result.

"The robbers left and I called the police, however, we did not get to Cihautlan [the nearest major hospital] in time."

Melaque is located between Puerto Vallarta and Acapulco, just north of Manzanillo, and is a favourite destination of so-called snowbirds from Canada.

Police told CBC News that robberies in the area and associated murders are common.

Death called 'senseless'

Source: Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (CBC)

However, Grillo reported, killings of foreigners in tourist regions are still rare.

"This happened not in a tourist place [like Cancun], but in a house downtown," he said. Of the four million Canadians who visited Mexico between 2006 and 2010, 15 have been killed, Grillo noted.

According to the Gulf Islands Driftwood, Wood is the former owner of the Beddis Road Garage and a mechanic at the old Payless Gas station on Rainbow Road.

Wood was well known and well liked on Salt Spring Island. His close friend, Kerry Chalmers, called his death "senseless."  "He was the first person to give you the coat off his back, and … if somebody really needed something, he would have given it to them."

Wood's Facebook page has also been flooded with condolences.

Do reports of killings in foreign countries make you less likely to travel to them? Have your say.

According to the Gulf Islands Driftwood, one poster, Anna Hughes, a Gulf Islands Secondary School graduate who lives in Victoria, wrote "thinking of you Robin and your smiling face always, many thoughts out to family and friends. So sorry to hear this news, your kindness is forever in my heart."