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Lam had covered riots before and had learned two things: First, it was important to stay aware and keep moving. Second, to make a great photo he had to get right in the middle of the action. Lam traveled light, having decided not to take along a flash, which could draw attention and make his camera look larger. As he hit the street, he could hear explosions in the distance. Around him, though, it was eerily quiet.
It wasn't until Lucic was in the locker room—after the Cup ceremony and an emotional moment with his parents—that he heard about the riots. One of his brothers, celebrating with him, received a text, then turned to him. "They're going nuts out there," his brother said. Now Lucic found a TV and watched. He'd been in Vancouver in '94, as a six-year-old. He couldn't believe it was happening again. As a player he had a different perspective now. All this over a game?
On the streets, all hell had broken loose. Dozens of vehicles were on fire, and police had closed all bridges inbound and outbound. Messages at suburban SkyTrain stations read, Due to the unstable situations in Downtown Vancouver, we strongly advise customers NOT to travel downtown until further notice.
At first Jones and Thomas had been captivated by the madness, standing to the side and watching like so many Vancouverites. Now they had seen enough. Jones grabbed Thomas's hand, and they started walking, looking for a SkyTrain station.
Having left the Loose Moose, where tear gas had seeped through the ventilation, Evans and his friends, too, were looking for a train. As they tried to get to a station, they came upon a troubling scene on Hornby Street near the Fairmont Hotel: four young men kicking a couple of guys in the head.
Evans's friends tried to break up the fight. Words were exchanged, and like that the four kickers were on the attack. One came at Evans, but he misjudged his victim. Evans had played hockey, learned jujitsu and done MMA training. His reaction was instinctive: He got his attacker in a headlock. "I'm not getting involved, and neither are you," he shouted in the young man's ear. "I'm going to hold on to you until all this calms down, and then we're going to shake hands."
But things didn't calm down. The scuffle moved, hidden behind smoke and darkness. Unable to see his friends, Evans released his grip on the assailant and crossed the street. There he found a figure slumped on the sidewalk, doubled over, with blood seeping out of his back. Evans realized it was his friend Sunny Jaura. Another of Evans's friends knelt over Jaura and applied pressure to the wound.
Turning, Evans ran back, hoping to find the assailant, or witnesses. Instead he saw one of the four young men brandishing a knife. Fueled by adrenaline and outrage, Evans took two steps and put the kid in a rear naked choke hold, wresting the blade out of his hand. Then, with the knife in one hand, he dragged the kid back toward his friends. That's when Evans heard the voice—"Drop the knife!"—and looked up to see Vancouver police, their guns trained on him.
Three blocks to the east, at just after 10 p.m., Lam hurried down an alley, turned a corner and found the epicenter of the riot. After exiting Rogers Arena he'd seen little worth photographing, just a landscape of burned-out cars and looted buildings. Then a friend heard that the Hudson's Bay department store, a venerable six-story structure at the corner of Seymour and Georgia, was on fire. Getting to the Bay hadn't been easy—Lam ducked past police horses and jigged down an alley past burning cars—but that was part of the job. As he would later explain, "When you're a news photographer and everyone's trying to leave an area, you're trying to get into it."
Now he emerged to find an apocalyptic scene on Seymour Street: cars aflame, looters streaming through smashed windows with $500 Louis Vuitton bags. It was, Lam would later say, like "a Black Friday sale—people just running around with bags." A squadron of police stood at the end of the street in riot gear, waiting for the signal to move in.