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Brazen shooting prompts Mounties to host public outreach event

COQUITLAM – Ten days after shots rang out at a busy Coquitlam shopping complex in broad daylight, Coquitlam RCMP held a public outreach event to address public concerns.

The event took place at the Burke Mountain Discovery Centre, about a minute drive from where the shooting happened.

“This is an opportunity where residents, as well as businesses, can come and speak to our officers and our staff, which include Victim Services, block watch, any community support services,” said Cpl. Alexa Hodgins.

Kay Yoon was nearby when the shooting happened. Concerns about the public display of violence compelled her to attend Saturday’s event.

“We were out with kids, and it was kind of kind of scary to know that that happened so close to our neighborhood,” she said. “We just wanted to know to see if they have any strategies and plans in place so that we could feel safer in the neighbourhood.”

While Coquitlam RCMP have not said if this is gang-related and described the shooting as an isolated, targeted incident, they have recently formed a Gang Enforcement Team.

“Our gang task force was created with already existing detachment resources within the last couple months,” Hodgins said. “Coquitlam RCMP reallocated our resources to target violent offenders as well as persons-related crimes that have a nexus to criminal activity.”

Kash Heed, a former police chief and former solicitor-general, said police and politicians need to be more proactive in stopping gang violence from escalating.

 “We think that all we have to do is throw more police resources at this and we can arrest our way out of this problem. We will never arrest our way out of this particular problem and as a result, the public is put at risk every time these displays of gun violence take place,” Heed said.

He believes officers should focus on suppressing gang activities, intervene in gang disputes and put preventative measures in place to stop youth from being attracted to that lifestyle.

“We have to take it upon ourselves to do what we need to do, and pressure our policy makers, our elected politicians that change the way we're responding to this particular issue,” he said.

In addition to the shooting, Coquitlam RCMP responded to a couple of sex assaults and an attempted luring incident in the Burke Mountain area.

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