A Canadian killed in a terrorist attack on a popular street in Barcelona was described by his family as a man who enjoyed lively debate and travelling.
Ian Moore Wilson was the father of a Vancouver police officer.
Vancouver police issued a statement from the officer’s family saying Wilson was killed when a van plowed into crowds of tourists on Thursday.
Wilson is described as a loving husband to his wife Valerie Wilson of 53 years, a father, brother and grandfather who was “always game for a lively debate, a good book exploring new places, and a proper-sized pint.”
The family says they intend on focusing on “the extraordinary acts of human kindness” they’ve experienced despite the tragedy because that’s what Wilson would have wanted.
They say they’ve received support from Vancouver police, the RCMP, airlines and emergency responders in Spain who helped Wilson in his final moments and provided urgent medical care to Valerie Wilson.
“These are the things we will choose to focus on when we endeavour to come to terms with the senseless violence and acts of hatred that have taken loved ones before their time,” the statement said.
The family has asked that their privacy be respected.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday that in addition to the Canadian who was killed, four other Canadians were injured in the terrorist attack.
“It was with great sadness that I learned today that one Canadian was killed and four others injured during (Thursday’s) cowardly terrorist attack in Barcelona,” Trudeau said in a statement.
“Sophie and I offer our condolences to the families and friends in mourning, and hope for a speedy recovery for the injured Canadians.
“We join Spain and countries around the world in grieving the senseless loss of so many innocent people. We must stand firm against the spread of hate and intolerance in all its forms. These violent acts that seek to divide us will only strengthen our resolve.”
The details about those who were injured or their current condition has not been released. Canadian officials say they are in touch with the affected families.
In total 13 people were killed in Barcelona and another in a separate attack in the resort town of Cambrils south of Barcelona. As many as 100 were injured.
Spanish authorities said citizens from 34 different countries were among the dead and injured.
Canadian officials Friday still advised Canadians in Barcelona to avoid the Las Ramblas area, where Thursday’s attack occurred, and follow directions from local authorities.
Allan Gray and his family were in a Las Ramblas restaurant Thursday when they heard a loud crash and saw crowds of panicked people rushing to the back of the building.
Amid the commotion, the Mississauga, Ont., man ran with his wife and two daughters into an adjoining hotel where they huddled on an upper floor for the next five hours, flinching at the sound of gunshots and wondering whether movements in the stairwells were people trying to find safety or a potential terrorist about to launch another attack.
Gray, 50, said that the scariest part of the entire ordeal was not knowing what was going on.
“Everybody was panicking … we just didn’t know what was going to happen,” Gray told The Canadian Press in an interview Friday. “Every little movement, every little bang was just horrific”
People weren’t sure whether gunshots heard were coming inside the building, and were terrified that there might be a shooter in the hotel, Gray said.
His daughter, Daniela Gray, said that she was preparing for the worst
“For many hours we were terrified that there was someone inside or that there was going to be an explosion of some sort,” the 24-year-old said.
As the hours passed, the Gray family learned more about what was actually happening through social media.
The family of four took shelter in the hotel until a police officer finally escorted them out of the area to safety.
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said Friday Canadian authorities always step up vigilance at home when an attack like this happens elsewhere.
“When an event like this occurs extra special attention is focused on it so Canadians can be assured that their police and their security services are taking every necessary step to keep Canadians safe,” he said, during an event in Regina.
Spanish authorities said the back-to-back vehicle attacks — as well as an explosion earlier this week in a house elsewhere in Catalonia — were related and the work of a large terrorist group.
Anca Gurzu, a Canadian from Ottawa, was in a nearby neighbourhood when the Barcelona attack took place, but only realized what was going on after receiving a frantic call from a friend.
“(The police) were just everywhere, they were walking with their guns, and it was a bit surreal,” said Gurzu, who went to the scene of the attack about two hours after it took place to see what was going on.
She said the residents of Barcelona remained “defiant” in the face of the violence, and that thousands of mourners gathered in the city’s main square on Friday to observe a minute of silence and march through the city’s streets.
People laid candles on the street beside bloodstains on the pavement where victims had been hit, she said.
The crowds chanted “I am not afraid! I am not afraid!” as they marched through the streets.
Outside the main strip where the attacks occurred, Gurzu said the city’s residents are making an effort to try and go about their lives normally.
“People are trying to just move on.”
— with files from Linda Givetash, Mia Rabson and the Associated Press