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Tragic events in Grimsby prompt border scrutiny (June 19, 2002)

GRIMSBY, Ont. -- The horrific shooting spree here that left the owner/operator of a towing company and three of his...

GRIMSBY, Ont. — The horrific shooting spree here that left the owner/operator of a towing company and three of his family members dead has renewed fears about border security.

The gun used on June 14 to kill three generations of the Cruse family of Grimsby — Shannon, 23, her six-year-old daughter and both of her parents — managed to cross the border from the U.S., smuggled into Canada by a man with a previous restraining order against him.

Police say Peter Kiss of Milwaukee, Wis., likely brought the .45-calibre Glock semi-automatic pistol used in the shootings across the border at the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls, Ont.

Last year, 1,145 illegal guns were picked up at border points across Canada, and its estimated about half of the handguns recovered from crimes in Canadian cities have come illegally from the U.S., according to Wendy Cukier, a spokeswoman for the Coalition for Gun Control.

“This highlights the importance of keeping our border strong,” says Cukier. “This case really does reinforce the fact that American guns are a threat to Canadians.”

Kiss had a restraining order against him from a previous girlfriend he had stalked, yet he was still able to cross the border with his deadly cargo undetected.

Americans entering Canada are routinely asked whether they have firearms with them, Jean D’Amelio Swyer, a spokeswoman for the Niagara Falls and Fort Erie division of the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, tells local media.

While the Canada Customs’ computer system alerts inspectors to any prior customs or immigration violations associated with the vehicle’s licence plate, some information — including restraining orders — is not displayed.

The federal immigration minister, Denis Coderre, thinks it might be time for a review of the protocol in the wake of the weekend’s heinous events.

“Regarding all those concerns, we have to take a closer look,” says the minister.

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