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Headlines from the past: The crazy robbery that led to a police chase, gun battle and arrest of a Tri-City News photographer

COQUITLAM — A suspect in a sports card shop robbery was shot dead by police in the old Digger O'Reilly's pub on Brunette Avenue.
A suspect in a robbery at a Port Coquitlam sports collectibles shop who was shot by police after fleeing to a pub in Coquitlam is rolled into Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster.

Stories from Tri-City News headlines of decades past is a recurring feature as the publication approaches its 40th anniversary in 2024.

A brazen daytime robbery of a sports collectible shop in downtown Port Coquitlam in October 1992 turned into a running gun battle with police that resulted in one of the suspects being shot dead inside the old Digger O'Riley’s pub on Brunette Avenue.

And, it included the detention of Tri-City News' then chief photographer Craig Hodge.

The incident started shortly after the shop's owner, Dave Murray, opened for the day when three armed men burst in, tied Murray and his four-year old son up and made off with $300,000 worth of collectible sports cards.

Coquitlam RCMP arrived just as the suspects were pulling away in a dusty, brown Oldsmobile leading to a chase along the Mary Hill Bypass (7B), Lougheed Highway and Brunette, where shots were fired at the pursuing police cruisers.

As the chase headed along Alderson Avenue, one of the cruisers rammed the Oldsmobile, slamming it into a retaining wall.

The driver was immediately arrested while the other two suspects fled, one leaving a trail of sports cards behind him.

He was tracked to the pub where he was still holding his gun when confronted by police, who ordered him to drop the weapon several times, according to witnesses.

But when the suspect appeared to point his gun at one of the officers, he was shot in the chest.

Hodge, who's now a Coquitlam city councillor, was alerted to the commotion by the News' police scanner. But when he arrived at the pub, he was handcuffed and put into the back seat of a police cruiser.

The only photos from the day's events came from another News' photographer, Simone Ponne, who was dispatched to Royal Columbian Hospital to cover the arrival by ambulance of the wounded suspect.

RCMP later apologized to Hodge and said the arrest was sparked by an officer's misunderstanding of instructions not to allow photographers at the scene to ensure no unauthorized people went into the pub as police conducted their investigation.

The Tri-City News has covered civic affairs, local crime, festivals, events, personalities, sports and arts in Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody since 1983. Bound back issues of the paper are available at the Coquitlam Archives, while digital versions of several past years can be found at