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U.S. motorist wounds Canadian border officer in shooting, then kills self

By Michael Martinez and Catherine Shoichet
October 17, 2012 -- Updated 1417 GMT (2217 HKT)
Canadian authorities closed the border crossing immediately after the shooting.
Canadian authorities closed the border crossing immediately after the shooting.
  • NEW: A male motorist shoots female Canadian border officer in her booth, police say
  • NEW: Motorist then apparently kills himself, police say
  • NEW: Border officer is breathing when she's airlifted to hospital
  • NEW: Authorities shut down the Peace Arch across from Blaine, Washington

(CNN) -- A Canadian border officer was shot in her booth Tuesday afternoon by a motorist, who then apparently killed himself, Canadian police said.

The shooting occurred at a border crossing across from Blaine, Washington, where the motorist was traveling from, authorities said.

The border officer was breathing before being airlifted to a hospital, but further details about her condition were not immediately available, said Surrey Royal Canadian Mounted Police Cpl. Bert Paquet.

The man who shot her was pronounced dead at the scene, apparently from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Paquet said. He was driving a car with Washington state plates into Canada, he said.

Authorities had yet to confirm the man's identity late Tuesday afternoon, Paquet said.

Canadian authorities closed the border crossing immediately after the shooting.

The closed British Columbia port is known as the Douglas or Peace Arch crossing, and Canadian authorities are asking motorists to use another area crossing, said Faith St. John with the Canada Border Services Agency.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police were investigating.

Dave Noble told CNN affiliate CTV that he saw a chaotic scene when he arrived at the crossing Tuesday.

About a dozen border guards with guns drawn encircled a white van.

"They had it surrounded. ... You knew something had gone down," he said. "It's very shocking. I feel terrible for the border guard. I come here quite a bit, and don't know any of them personally ... but there are some really nice people that work here."

Authorities told Lisa Kennedy that she and her family would be waiting for a while. She saw all the ambulances and police cars pull up to the scene, where the van's doors were opened.

"They said, 'Hold on, you guys are going to be here for a long time. We've had an injury, a fairly serious one," Kennedy told CTV.

Jagdar Randhawa said he heard the gunfire. "All of sudden, I hear two shots," he said Tuesday afternoon. "Then we wait for a while. We're still waiting for a long time."

Canadian Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews said he was "deeply concerned by the news of the shooting today at the Peace Arch border crossing of a CBSA officer."

"This event is a sobering reminder of the dangerous conditions faced daily by the men and women of our law enforcement agencies as they work to protect the safety and security of Canadians," Toews said.

About 60 vehicles were stranded on the Canadian side of the border.

CNN's Amanda Watts contributed to this report.

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