‘Get him home so he can live’: Metro Vancouver family trying to bring home father shot in Paraguay

Shemick Matusiak says he hasn’t been able to sleep or work for a week, ever since his father was shot in the leg in Paraguay.

Shemick’s father, Richard, 66, was a self-employed painter and had recently retired. Dealing with arthritis, he had chosen to spend six months of the year in a warm climate and six months of the year in Canada with his children and grandchildren.

On Nov. 5, Richard was shot in the vacation home he’d built himself.

“Two guys arrived on a motorcycle on his property with a shotgun, words were exchanged, they got in some kind of struggle and they shot him,” Shemick said.

“He called me while he was being rushed to hospital. He was extremely weak and he just told me, ‘They tried to kill me’. That’s basically the last I heard of him.”

The family has been told that the bullet hit a main artery in Richard’s leg and the hospital doesn’t have enough blood for his treatment. He’s already been through two rounds of surgery and his family desperately want to bring him back to Canada to receive medical care.

The family has contacted Global Affairs Canada but they say they haven’t received much information in response, and they haven’t heard any news since Thursday.

Even if family members did travel to South America they would still need government assistance in bringing Matusiak home because of his condition.

“To know that you’re begging your country to help get him home safe, at least to Canadian soil so that he can get what he needs (but) not hearing back, not even knowing for four days if he’s still alive, if he’s OK,” said Kristina Ponder, Richard’s daughter-in-law.

Global Affairs Canada issued a statement to CTV News saying the department “is aware of a Canadian citizen in need of assistance in Paraguay. Consular officials are in contact with local authorities to obtain more information and are in contact with the family to provide consular assistance.”

The department said no further information could be disclosed due to privacy considerations.

The family has also been in contact with the office of their local MP, Sukh Dhaliwal. On Sunday, Dhaliwal told CTV News that his office will be following up again with Global Affairs on Monday morning.

“I will be in Ottawa tomorrow and I will ensure that I have a word with the Minster personally as well,” Dhaliwal said.

File source

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