It’s been an incredibly violent 24 hours in the Lower Mainland. Homicide detectives are investigating two suspicious deaths, and two more men are in hospital, following two separate shootings.
The most recent event happened around 11:30 pm Friday in Surrey. RCMP responded to gunfire in the area of 133 Street and Central Avenue in the Whalley neighbourhood. One man was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
It’s the city’s third shooting in as many days, and Mounties confirm it is related to the ongoing gang conflict in the region.
Meanwhile, the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) is investigating a suspicious death near 64 Avenue and 130 Street. Police were called to that area around 8 am Friday, after receiving reports of a man sleeping in an alleyway. Mounties discovered the man was dead. IHIT says it’s too early to say whether that death was targeted or gang-related.
IHIT are also working on a file in Langley, where a man died in a hotel room. Police were called the Langley Highway Hotel near 204 Street and 88 Avenue around 9 p.m. Friday. They found a man suffering from serious injuries. Despite paramedics’ attempts to treat him, the man died at the scene. IHIT would not confirm how the man was killed, but say it does not appear to be related to the gang conflict.
“Our IHIT investigators have been quite busy in the last 24 hours,” said IHIT Detective Cpl. Sukhi Dhesi. “We want to assure the public we are well-resourced, working with partner agencies, and are dedicating investigators to move forward on both of these investigations.”
In Port Moody, residents of a typically calm neighborhood witnessed an unusual sight on Friday afternoon, after a car was set on fire. The blaze then sparked a series of explosions, rattling the area near Albert and Hope streets.
“We had people coming from as far as another block away saying they heard and felt the explosions as well,” said Grant Sathanielle, who witnessed the blasts.
The flames were extinguished by fire crews, but not before residents tried dousing them. While doing so, one of the residents was seriously hurt by an explosion.
“This man was an Innocent bystander, not related to the car fire,” said Const. Sam Zacharias of the Port Moody Police Department.
“He suffered serious injuries and was transported to hospital and remains in stable condition.”
Police would not confirm the victim’s identity, but neighbors and a colleague say he’s a member of Vancouver Fire Rescue Services (VFRS) who lives in the area and was off-duty at the time. VFRS would not confirm or deny the claim when asked about it.
Police believe the burned out vehicle is connected to a targeted shooting outside of a house on Chickadee Place near Tanger Court in Coquitlam. On Friday afternoon, police tape surround the front yard of a home, and multiple bullet holes could be seen in the garage door.
One man was injured in the shooting. His injuries are not life-threatening. In December, the same block of the Westwood Plateau neighborhood was the scene of another shooting that left an injured man. His nine-year-old son was at the scene but escaped unharmed. Police say both shootings are gang-related.
Mounties have released images of a black Hyundai Sante Fe SUV with the license plate FL335K. They believe the vehicle is linked to the shooting. Anyone who recognizes the vehicle is asked to contact Coquitlam RCMP.