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Alleged B.C gang leader reported killed in Kelowna casino gun attack

Police tape seals off a downtown Kelowna, B.C., street corner at the scene of a multiple shooting on Aug. 14, 2011.

Chris Stanford/The Canadian Press/Chris Stanford/The Canadian Press

Jonathan Bacon, the eldest of three alleged British Columbia gangster brothers, is reported to have been killed by masked gunmen wielding assault rifles who fired at a luxury car leaving an upscale Kelowna hotel.

The RCMP would only confirm that a man died and five others were injured but News 1130 radio and the Vancouver Province identified the dead man as Mr. Bacon.

A member of the Hells Angels biker gang was also reported to be among the wounded.

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The daylight shooting took place after 2:45 p.m. Sunday in front of several shocked onlookers outside the Delta Grand hotel.

As ambulance sirens squealed and a burly, tattooed victim was wheeled onto a gurney, witnesses reported that several gunmen unloaded dozens of shots at a white Porsche SUV while the vehicle tried to speed away.

The gunmen fled eastward in a silvery green SUV, the RCMP said.

"After they took off, I went back to see what had happened," said a hotel employee, who asked his name not be used for safety reasons. "The car had crashed into the side of the building, (there were) people with bullet holes in them."

He ran up to the Porsche and asked the driver, a large muscular man with numerous tattoos, if he should call 911. The driver nodded. The man had what appeared to be a bullet hole in his shoulder, and blood gushed out.

A dark-haired woman was sitting in the rear and a blond-haired woman was slumped over in her seat.

Police spokesman Constable Steve Holmes told reporters this kind of incident is rare in Kelowna.

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"However, when it does happen it is shocking and traumatic to those affected by it and is of concern to the people living in this community," he said in a news conference late Sunday.

"The public needs to know that swift and extraordinary measures are being taken in order to ensure that those responsible will be found and brought to account before the courts."

Constable Holmes wouldn't confirm the identity of the lone man killed or provide any information about the victims' ages, hometowns or relationships were given. Mounties don't believe any bystanders were injured, he said.

"Police believe the general public is not at risk," said Holmes, explaining police believe the shooting was targeted.

"It appeared that all the shots fired were directed at one particular vehicle," he said.

Investigators are now searching for the suspect SUV. No arrests have been made. Police will review video footage from cameras at the hotel and adjoining casino and are asking any witnesses who may have taken photographs or video to come forward.

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The authorities have long alleged that the Bacon brothers – Jonathan, James and Jarrod – are ringleaders of the Red Scorpion, a gang which waged a violent turf war against the United Nations gang for control of the marijuana and cocaine trade in B.C.'s Lower Mainland.

James has been accused of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the notorious Surrey Six case, the killings of six men — two of them innocent bystanders —in a Surrey apartment tower in October, 2007.

The Bacon brothers have had brushes with death before.

James, for example, was ambushed in April of 2007 as he drove Jarrod's Corvette into the driveway of their family home in Surrey. The car was showered with bullets. James fired back with a Glock pistol. He was struck once but stayed alive thanks to the body armour he wore.

With a report from the Canadian Press

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About the Author
National reporter

Tu Thanh Ha is based in Toronto and writes frequently about judicial, political and security issues. He spent 12 years as a correspondent for the Globe and Mail in Montreal, reporting on Quebec politics, organized crime, terror suspects, space flights and native issues. More

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