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Anmore man viciously attacked on Mexican holiday with dad

“It happened so quickly,” Joe Hooker said after his youngest son, Cale, was assaulted at a Mexican bar. A GoFundMe campaign has now been set up for his rehabilitation.

What started as a fun father–son trip to Mexico last month ended two days later with a vicious attack at a bar and a subsequent head surgery.

Anmore residents Joe Hooker and his 20-year-old son Cale were in San Jose Del Cabo on April 16 and had finished their dinner when they asked about grabbing a drink in town before returning to their resort.

After an employee recommended a place, the pair caught a taxi and headed inside; however, they didn’t like the watering hole because it was dark and no one was around.

At around 7:30 p.m., when they settled their bill and tried to leave, the manager claimed they also had to ante up a $50USD cover charge each.

“I thought it was ridiculous,” Joe said, “and I didn’t have that kind of cash on me.”

But he knew they were in trouble when a man about 6’6” tall and 300 pounds stood by the exit.

After a few heated words in English and Spanish, Joe forked over all the money he had on him: $20USD and 300 pesos.

The manager then motioned to the bouncer to let the pair leave; however, Joe, having his back to the door, did not see Cale being hit with what they believe to be were brass knuckles on the guard’s right hand.

“It happened so quickly,” Joe said. “All I saw was my son stumbling outside and, at that point, my focus turned 100 per cent to my son.”

Cale, a graduate of Port Moody’s Heritage Woods Secondary, was struck three times: the first, below his right eye with an open fist; the second, in the back of his head, potentially with the brass knuckles; and the third to the front of his head also with the weapon, a blow so damaging that it caused bleeding to his brain.

Outside the bar, locals advised the father and son that a hospital was around the block, so they walked there.

But because of the severity of Cale’s injuries, they were quickly transported by ambulance to a larger area hospital and prepared for surgery the following day.

Medical staff told the family the craniotomy would last two or three hours.

Joe waited for six hours.

“It was very challenging,” he said, his voice shaking. “I couldn’t speak to anyone until it was over … But the care and support he received in Mexico was absolute wonderful.”

Joe, a retired firefighter with the Sasamat Volunteer Fire Department, said he met with Canadian and Mexican governmental and legal authorities the next day, using an interpreter to describe the harrowing ordeal.

And while he doesn’t remember the name of the bar, Joe filed a statement that is now part of a police investigation.

“They said it takes time,” he said, noting he’s not confident the case will be solved nor the perpetrators charged.

His wife, Pam, who was supposed to meet Joe in Mexico after the week-long vacation with their son, took an emergency flight out to be with them.

On Monday, April 29, they returned home to Anmore and are now waiting to see a neurologist.

As of today, May 2, Cale has blurry vision, some hearing loss, gets dizzy and walks slowly.

“We just don’t know what lies ahead for him,” Joe said. “We don’t know how long his recovery will be, or if and when he can go to work.”

Cale, who turns 21 on May 23, was due to start a new construction job when he returned from Mexico. Fortunately, his employer said his position will be there when Cale is ready to come back, Joe said.


Meanwhile, Joe’s eldest son, Cabe, posted a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for Cale’s rehabilitation.

The total is nearing $40,000 from more than 230 donors, as of this publication.

Joe said he’s thankful for the contributions and community support.

“Every day, Cale gets better. He says, ‘Today’s better than yesterday,’ so we are grateful for that.”

And despite the assault that nearly took his boy’s life, Joe said he wants to stress to Canadian travellers that such criminal incidents are rare.

“We still believe Cabo and other parts of Mexico are safe to visit.”