Calgary man shot in Barbados thanks supporters from his hospital bed

A Calgary man, shot while vacationing in Barbados, is speaking to Global News, thanking people back home for their incredible show of love.

WATCH: Calgary man shot, paralyzed while on vacation in Barbados during attempted armed robbery

“Thanks for the outpouring of support,” Ken Elliott said from his hospital bed in Florida on Tuesday. “It’s wonderful.”

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The 65-year-old former City of Calgary employee was shot while vacationing in Ealing Park with extended family.

The family said two armed men stormed into their vacation rental home on Saturday.

“Just happened really quick,” Elliott’s wife Linda Booth said. “We’d been playing scrabble and having a great time.”

An undated photo of Linda Brooks and Ken Elliott.
An undated photo of Linda Brooks and Ken Elliott. Courtesy: Linda Brooks

Booth said her sister-in-law stepped outside and was quickly approached by two masked men.

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“She yelled that he had a gun. She was unable to shut the door before they pounced on her,” Booth said.

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Video released by the Royal Barbados Police Force shows that after a short fight, Elliot was shot. The bullet is still in his body and he remains partially paralyzed.

“It’s between his third and fourth vertebrae,” Booth said. “I saw the X-ray and it’s like sideways across… in the spine and the spinal cord is completely severed.”

Elliott is scheduled for surgery on his lungs to remove a large blood clot.

Rodney Inniss, an acting inspector with the RBPF, told Global News on Tuesday they’re “actively” investigating the home invasion. Inniss said they have received tips from the public and are canvassing the neighbourhood. No arrests have been made.

READ MORE: Canada warns travellers as Jamaica extends state of emergency due to rise in violent crime

Booth said the family is shocked the rental they were staying at was targeted. The home was rented from a family acquaintance — not a stranger — and it was usually rented through word of mouth.

“It was just in a regular neighbourhood,” she said. “Houses around — you’d think it would be safe.”

Travel expert weighs in

Travel expert Lesley Keyter of The Travel Lady said for the most part, the Caribbean and Barbados are generally safe places to vacation. However, she looked into the neighbourhood and pointed out it is “quite tucked away” from the tourist areas.

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“I think you’re safer in a tourist area because there’s more awareness,” Keyter said. “Regular houses in an ordinary suburb — I’m really not sure how safe that is.”

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Keyter added with the rise in vacation rentals over traditional resorts, travellers may have to be extra vigilant and choose wisely.

“I don’t think there’s anywhere that I would say don’t go,” Keyter said. “But go and stay at the right place, and when you’re there, be smart.”

The Calgary family is now hoping to get Elliott stabilized so he can fly home and start what will be a very long road to recovery.

A GoFundMe page has been set up for the family.

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