Suspect arrested minutes after banquet hall shooting
Published Thursday, January 17, 2013 12:19PM PST
Last Updated Friday, January 18, 2013 11:04AM PST
Mounties have confirmed they arrested a 26-year-old suspect just minutes after a gunman opened fire at a busy Richmond banquet hall Wednesday night.
Sgt. Peter Thiessen said the adult male was picked up “some distance” from the Riverside Banquet Hall on River Road, where witnesses reported hearing at least 10 shots fired shortly before 9 p.m.
“Just five minutes after the shooting Richmond RCMP officers had arrested a suspect without incident,” Thiessen said in a statement. “At this point police are still trying to determine if the shooting was gang-related.”
Around 150 people were in the hall when gunfire erupted and sent crowds running for the exits. Others tried unsuccessfully to tackle the shooter, but he managed to escape.
Footage of the aftermath obtained exclusively by CTV News shows one victim being treated on the ground as another is wheeled out on a gurney. Blood can be seen splattered on the carpet and covered chairs of the hall.
The victims, all men, were taken to Vancouver General Hospital and Royal Columbian Hospital. Two were critically injured, with one reportedly being shot in the neck, while the others were treated for less-serious gunshot wounds.
All the victims remained in stable condition Thursday morning.
Sources have told CTV News there was a party at the banquet hall to celebrate Longshoremen being accepted into the union.
The president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Mark Gordienko, issued a statement Thursday saying he was “shocked and saddened” by the shooting, which “affected some of our members.”
Gordienko said the event was a privately organized party, however, and not officially sanctioned by the ILWU.
“As far as I am aware, no union officials were in attendance,” he said. “I have no further knowledge of the incident and strongly urge everyone involved, members and non-members, to fully cooperate with the RCMP.”
Mounties believe the shooting was targeted, but said it nevertheless posed a serious threat to bystanders.
“Police recognize these types of incidents are very concerning to the public. The potential for innocent people to be hurt is high,” Thiessen said.
The incident followed a spate of deadly shooting in nearby Surrey that killed four people in just two days.
The first victim, 27-year-old Manjot Dhillon, was gunned down Sunday night in what police believe was a targeted shooting. The next two, Edward McGiveron and Geordie Carlow, both 33, were shot to death in a parking lot hours later.
On Tuesday morning, 29-year-old Manjinder “Manny” Hairan was killed in what appears was a gang-related murder.
The Riverside Banquet Hall was the scene of another shooting in 2001, when five people were shot at a wedding reception at the venue. Kelly Singh Buttar, 22, was killed.
The Richmond RCMP detachment’s Serious Crime Section is leading the investigation into the Wednesday’s shooting, with help from the Lower Mainland District Regional Police Service and integrated police dog and forensic units.
The arrested suspect is scheduled to appear in court in Richmond at 9:30 a.m. on Friday. No charges have been laid.
Anyone with information is being asked to call 604-207-4726, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 if they wish to remain anonymous.