In February of 1987 Sergeant Larry Young was a team leader in the Vancouver Police Emergency Response Team (ERT). ERT is a highly trained and heavily armed squad that handles all high-risk arrests involving the possibility of armed suspects. Sergeant Young was also one of the founders of the Vancouver Police ERT and helped to write the training manual. Just a month before he had led his team in the dramatic rescue of a baby being held hostage. He was a dedicated, highly decorated and highly trained officer. As a result of his hard work Sergeant Larry Young had just been promoted to Sergeant.
On February 2nd 1987, ERT was called out to assist the drug squad with a high-risk arrest. Sergeant Young was on annual leave and did not have to come into work; but his dedication to duty compelled him to lead his squad.
John Sheffield, a well-known high-level cocaine dealer was wanted on a warrant for cocaine trafficking. Only one month before he was also a suspect in the shooting and wounding of another man in a drug deal. Since the victim was also a criminal he was uncooperative with the police and although the weapon was recovered near the scene there was not enough evidence to arrest Sheffield.
There was information that Sheffield was still dealing cocaine and had rearmed himself. Sergeant Young and his team attended to Sheffield's address in the basement of 3416 W. 2nd and prepared to enter the suite. One of the tactics that ERT uses is the element of surprise; they are trained to quickly enter a suite and arrest the suspect before he can respond. Tragically, in this case the element of surprise was compromised.
In his drug-induced paranoia Sheffield had obtained a police scanner. Although it was defective and could not pick up police radio conversations, it would squelch loudly when a police radio microphone was keyed. Therefore, he was alerted to the presence of the ERT squad, long before they entered his suite. He was waiting inside in ambush, armed with a .30 calibre M1 carbine pointed at the door, waiting to shoot the first policeman that entered.
At 21:10 hours the 7-member ERT team entered the suite to search for Sheffield. As soon as they entered the doorway they suddenly came under gunfire. Sergeant Young was shot and killed immediately by a gunshot to the head. A second ERT member, Constable Al Cattley, was wounded in the leg. During a quick intense gun battle the other members of the ERT team returned fire; they shot and fatally wounded Sheffield.
During his 18 year career Larry worked in Vice, Internal Investigations, Firearms Training, the Police Academy, Drug Squad, Cheque Squad, School Liaison and Patrol. He was in excellent physical condition; he enjoyed running and playing rugby. He had a passion for karate and was an eager student-giving it his all, as he did in life and in death. Larry was an inspiration to younger members of the team, and still is in spirit.
He revelled in the challenge and camaraderie of sports therefore his death is commemorated on the last Sunday of May at the Larry Young Memorial run.Larry Young; policeman, father, husband, son, brother, friend, partner. "We Shall Never Forget You".
"All the stories and words on this site were written from the heart, by Sgt. Steve Gibson. They are the result of research and interviews by Cst. Tod Catchpole with families and friends of the officers killed in the line of duty. For the sake of authenticity, the stories appear exactly as written and have not been edited by the site creators. While the Vancouver Police Department stands by the stories, visitors to this site should accept that they may contain minor factual inaccuracies."