One of the wealthiest neighbourhoods in Vancouver was stunned Saturday night by the sound of rapid gunfire that left Hong Chao (Raymond) Huang dead on the sidewalk in front of the stately mansion in which he lived.
"It was a very sharp and clear sound," a close neighbour said yesterday. She heard the gunfire at about 11:10 p.m. and then looked out the window to see police cars roaring up to the scene.
"There was not much pause between the bullets. There was one, two, three, four, five," said the long-time Shaughnessy resident, who asked that her name not be used.
She said the gunfire was distinct from the sharp bang of firecrackers that had been heard so frequently around the city during Halloween week.
"My husband and I heard the shots. I said, 'That doesn't sound like fireworks.' We didn't know what to think but when we looked out the window and here were the police, everywhere."
She said the family who lives in the sprawling estate at 3883 Cartier has been in the house for a few years, and wasn't well known.
"You would know them to say hello on the street, but that is about it," she said.
"I'm very sorry that this has happened in this neighbourhood," said the woman, who has lived in Shaughnessy, a beautiful area of the city that features tree-lined boulevards and grand homes, for 50 years.
She said it was the first shooting she'd ever heard of in the community.
Constable Tim Fanning of the Vancouver Police Department said the first 911 call was made by the victim's young daughter.
"People in the neighbourhood called police right away, but it was the victim's own daughter, a 10-year-old girl, who phoned police to let us know that her father had been shot out in front of their house," he said.
"Police arrived a few minutes later and found the 45-year-old Vancouver man lying on the sidewalk ... dead."
The shooting comes amidst a spate of targeted killings in the Lower Mainland that seem to be tied to gang activity.
But Constable Fanning said Mr. Huang is not known to Vancouver police and they do not know the motive for the shooting.
"We believe that this is a targeted attack ... because of the way this man was shot in front of his house. We believe he was either being followed or the suspects were waiting for him. So the neighbourhood can rest somewhat easy, even though of course it's a very startling and horrific event to have happen in your neighbourhood.
"It's certainly an unusual event to have happen in the neighbourhood of Shaughnessy."
Constable Fanning said Mr. Huang was shot just as he arrived home.
He said Mr. Huang's mother ran and told the 10-year-old girl to call 911. The names of the two family members weren't released, nor did police release any personal information about the victim, such as where he worked.
The entire block was behind yellow crime-scene tape yesterday and two police cars were parked outside the Huang residence.
Constable Fanning said among the evidence being gathered were the images from security cameras that are commonly found on the large, expensive homes in the area.
"Detectives have been working through the night on this file. [Police are]canvassing the neighbourhood. There are ... a number of video cameras in the neighbourhood and we will be getting the video from those. At this point we don't have any images that we can show you of the suspects. We don't have any descriptions."
Constable Fanning urged anyone with information to call the Vancouver police homicide team at 604-717-2500.
"We're going to do all we can [but]it comes back to people that may know something. ... That's what can really help break a case as well as all the footwork the detectives do," he said