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An RCMP officer passes a bullet-riddled vehicle that was involved in a targeted gang shooting on February 16, 2009 in Surrey, B.C., on display outside RCMP headquarters in Vancouver, B.C. (DARRYL DYCK)
An RCMP officer passes a bullet-riddled vehicle that was involved in a targeted gang shooting on February 16, 2009 in Surrey, B.C., on display outside RCMP headquarters in Vancouver, B.C. (DARRYL DYCK)

Decoding the decade

A decade of B.C. violence Add to ...

1. Mis-Fortune

Early on April 9, 2007, two gunmen walk into the Fortune Happiness Restaurant on East Broadway and open fire, killing two men and wounded six other people. The case remains unsolved.

2. No immunity

On Sept. 8, 2007, the violence touches one of B.C.'s wealthiest neighbourhoods when two men shoot through the windows of Quattro on Fourth, a critically acclaimed restaurant in Kitsilano, wounding two people at a birthday dinner inside. No arrests yet.

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3. The massacre

A month later, six men are shot to death on the 15th floor of a Surrey apartment building in the province's worst case of gang violence. Four of them are linked to the criminal underworld; two are innocent bystanders. Ed Schellenberg, a fireplace repairman from Abbotsford, happened to be the unit Oct. 19 while servicing the building. Christopher Mohan, 22, lived across the hall.

4. American aid

Clayton Roueche, founder of the United Nations, a gang believed to be central to the conflict, faces more than 30 years in a U.S. prison after being arrested May, 19, 2008, in Houston on drug charges. He later pleads guilty to conspiracy and money laundering in connection with a smuggling scheme.

5. Hard ball

This year, amid a wave of brazen shootings, Premier Gordon Campbell gives B.C. gangs a memorable Friday, Feb. 13, by announcing the province will throw more prosecutors and added 168 police at the gang problem.

6. Payoff

Finally, on April 3, 2009, arrests begin in the Surrey Six case. Dennis Karbovanec, 27, makes a surprise court appearance and pleads guilty to three counts of second-degree murder (including that of Mr. Mohan). Three other men are charged immediately and the arrest total has since reached six, a vindication for the team investigating the case.

7. Black eye

The same month, with the much-hyped Winter Games less than a year away, federal Public Safety Minister Peter van Loan pays a visit and declares Vancouver to be the centre of organized crime in Canada. "That's based on the fact that Vancouver has not just the highest number of gangs of any area in the country, but the largest concentration of very sophisticated organized criminals," he says.

Before long, The Independent is telling British readers that the Olympic city has gone from "cuddly, eco-friendly publicity" to "blood-splattered streets littered with shell casings and corpses." Premier Campbell calls the article a "cheap shot."

 

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