Sergeant Larry Young

VPD Sergeant Larry YoungOn February 2, 1987, the VPD’s Emergency Response Team was called on to assist the Drug Squad with a high-risk arrest. The highly-trained and heavily-armed team handled all such arrests involving the possibility of armed suspects.

Sergeant Larry Young was a team leader, and even though he was on annual leave, he joined the team for the arrest.

The warrant was for John Sheffield, a well-known high-level cocaine dealer, who was wanted for cocaine trafficking. He was also the suspect in the shooting of another man in a drug deal one month prior. The victim had been uncooperative and there had not been enough evidence to arrest Sheffield.

Just after 9:00 p.m., the seven-member team arrived at Sheffield’s address, the basement of 3416 W.2nd Avenue, and prepared to enter the suite. Members were trained to use the element of surprise – to enter a premise quickly and arrest the suspect before they would have time to respond. They had no way of knowing that in a state of drug-induced paranoia, Sheffield had obtained a police scanner. Even though it was defective and could not pick up police radio conversations, it would squelch loudly when a police radio microphone was keyed. He was waiting inside, armed with a .30 calibre M1 carbine rifle pointed at the door, ready to shoot the first police officer through the door.

That police officer was Sergeant Young, who was killed immediately by a gunshot to his head.

During the quick, intense gun battle that began immediately as they entered the suite, a second officer, Constable Al Cattley, was shot and wounded in the leg. Sheffield was fatally wounded.

During his 18-year career, Sergeant Young worked in many areas of the VPD. He was one of the founders of the Emergency Response Team, and helped write their training manual. He was a dedicated, highly decorated and highly trained officer, who had been recently promoted to sergeant. He had led his team in the dramatic rescue of a baby held hostage only one month earlier.

Larry revelled in the challenge and camaraderie of sports, and was in excellent physical condition. He enjoyed running and playing rugby, and was passionate about karate, an eager student who gave it his all. He continues to be an inspiration for team members.

Each year, on the last Sunday of May, the Larry Young Memorial Run is held to remember and celebrate the life of Sergeant Larry Young.

Larry Young: police officer, father, husband, son, brother, friend, partner.

Tribute Video


More Information

British Columbia Law Enforcement Memorial

Larry Young Run

Fallen police officer honoured with park dedication
CBC News
June 7, 2009