The death of a 28-year-old man outside the departure terminal at Vancouver International Airport is believed to be linked to the ongoing gang conflict that has gripped British Columbia’s Lower Mainland, police say.
Sgt. Frank Jang of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team said the victim is known to police and the shooting needs to stop.
“I think we’re all tired of seeing the violence that is taking place on our streets,” Jang said during a late news conference Sunday.
An SUV with at least two people inside was seen leaving the scene.
A short time later, fire crews in Surrey were called to attend a vehicle fire in a back alley, about 28 kilometres from the airport. Several targeted shootings have ended with similar vehicle fires.
Richmond RCMP Chief Supt. Will Ng said the shooting took place about 3 p.m. on Sunday and shortly afterwards one of their officers caught up with the suspect vehicle.
Someone from the vehicle fired their weapon while driving down a busy street, hitting the police cruiser, Ng said.
The officer didn’t return fire and stopped the pursuit, he said.
There’s been a string of shootings resulting in murders and injuries in Metro Vancouver over the last few weeks, taking place near shopping centres, restaurants and busy streets.
The murder of a prison corrections officer in the parking lot of a busy Delta, B.C., shopping mall had all the hallmarks of a gang hit, police said last week.
Ng said this newest generation of gangers is taking things to another level and have no regard for community safety.
“They will stop at nothing to target rivals, even if it’s at an international airport in broad daylight on Mother’s Day, and putting everyone at risk, including shooting at a police officer, which indicates to me these people have no care whatsoever.”
Because gangers are taking it to the next level, Ng said police will do the same.
“Next level strategies are a very intentional and strategic response, targeting individuals involved in the Lower Mainland gang conflict, and specifically targeting them with a collaborative approach with all of our law enforcement agencies, partners,” he said.
Jang said it is clear that the message isn’t getting through to these people.
“Please don’t kill one another, stop the violence. Apparently it’s falling on deaf ears to some, and they continue to harm one another, they continue to shoot their guns, putting all of us in jeopardy.”
Jang said police are looking for dashcam video from those who were in the area Sunday between the airport and the location where the vehicle was found on fire to help with their investigation.
Delta’s police chief said last week that all police departments in B.C.’s Lower Mainland were working on the shootings.
Neil Dubord acknowledged the “anxiety” around the very public shootings, saying they showed a “shocking” disregard for public safety.
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