It was an incredibly violent 24 hours in the Lower Continent. Murder detectives are investigating two suspected deaths, and two more men are in hospital, after two separate shooting incidents.
The most recent event took place around 11:30 pm Friday in Surrey. RCMP responded to gunfire in the vicinity of 133rd Street and Central Avenue in the Whalley neighborhood. One man was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
This is the city’s third shooting in as many days, and Mounties confirms it is related to the ongoing gang conflict in the region.
Meanwhile, the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) is investigating a suspicious death near 64 Avenue and 130 Street. Police were called to the area around 08:00 on Friday after receiving reports of a man sleeping in an alley. Mounties discovered the man was dead. IHIT says it is too early to say whether that death was targeted or gang-related.
IHIT is also working on a file in Langley, where a man died in a hotel room. Police were called to the Langley Highway Hotel near 204 Street and 88 Avenue around 9pm on Friday. They found a man who had sustained serious injuries. Despite paramedics’ efforts to treat him, the man died at the scene. IHIT did not want to confirm how the man was killed, but said it apparently did not relate to the gang conflict.
“Our IHIT investigators have been pretty busy in the last 24 hours,” said IHIT detective Cpl. Sukhi Dhesi. “We want to assure the public that we have good resources, work with partner agencies, and we dedicate investigators to moving forward with both of these investigations.”
In Port Moody, residents of a typically quiet neighborhood saw an unusual sight on Friday afternoon, after a car caught fire. The fire then caused a series of explosions, which hit the area near Albert and Hope Streets.
“We had people from as far away as another block say that they also heard and felt the explosions,” said Grant Sathanielle, who witnessed the explosions.
The flames were extinguished by firefighters, but not before residents tried to extinguish them. While doing so, one of the residents was seriously injured by an explosion.
“This man was an innocent bystander, not related to the car fire,” said Const. Sam Zacharias of the Port Moody Police Department.
“He sustained serious injuries and was transported to hospital and is still in a stable condition.”
Police did not want to confirm the victim’s identity, but neighbors and a colleague say he is a member of Vancouver Fire Rescue Services (VFRS) who lives in the area and was then off duty. VFRS would not confirm or deny the claim when asked about it.
Police believe the burnt-out vehicle was linked to a target shooting outside a house on Chickadee Place near Tanger Court in Coquitlam. On Friday afternoon, police tape surrounded the front yard of a house, and several bullet holes could be seen in the garage door.
One man was wounded in the shooting. His injuries are not life-threatening. In December, the same block of the Westwood Plateau neighborhood was the scene of another shooting that injured a man. His nine-year-old son was at the scene but escaped unharmed. Police say both shootings are gang-related.
Mounties has released images of a black Hyundai Sante Fe SUV with the license plate FL335K. They believe the vehicle is linked to the shooting. Anyone who recognizes the vehicle is asked to contact Coquitlam RCMP.