When police responded to reports of gunshots coming from an otherwise quiet southeast Vancouver neighbourhood Wednesday afternoon, they found a dead woman in the front seat of a car – but were also stunned by what they discovered in the back seat.
"Much to our shock, there was a young toddler – unharmed fortunately – in the back seat of the car," Constable Lindsey Houghton told reporters gathered on the corner of a park as officers nearby were in the midst of a massive investigation.
On Thursday, Vancouver Police identified the victim as 38-year old Thuy Yen "Jenny" Vu, but said she was not previously known to them. Police also confirmed that the toddler in the back seat was Ms. Vu's three-year old son.
"We're shocked. We're very upset. Many of us are parents ourselves of young children, and it makes us sick to come on a scene like this."
Constable Houghton described such violence as "completely unacceptable" whether it happened as it did Wednesday afternoon or at a downtown doughnut store – a reference to this being the second targeted shooting this week in a normally quiet place.
But the police spokesman said it's too soon to connect the Wednesday shooting to a brazen shooting in a downtown Tim Horton's on Tuesday night at about 7:30 p.m. that left an unidentified man in his 30s wounded. The man was known to police.
"It does not appear to be a random, drive-by type shooting," Constable Houghton said of the shooting of the unidentified 38-year-old woman.
Investigators have confirmed Wednesday's shooting – Vancouver's 14th homicide this year – was "targeted," which means the person wielding the gun was out to get the victim and not randomly firing their weapon in a drive-by attack.