Charge laid in Burnaby shooting that left man dead, innocent bystander injured
VANCOUVER -- A 20-year-old suspect has been charged in connection with Saturday's brazen daylight shooting in Burnaby, B.C., which left a young man dead and an innocent bystander injured.
Authorities said the apparent target, identified by police Monday as 19-year-old Blerton Dalipi, also known as Toni, had just walked out of a business on 6th Street when he was shot.
A dash cam video shared online captured the sound of at least four gunshots as the vehicle passed the shooting scene near 13th Avenue. Another video shared on social media showed people gathered around the victim, trying to help.
One of those people was Shannah Robin, the owner of Universal Martial Arts Academy. His dojo, which is located in the building right next to where the shooting took place, was closed at the time, but he was inside doing some work.
“I heard the gunfire. About four gunshots,” he said. “I ran outside and there was a guy lying there, and blood, and immediately my survival instincts kick in to try to help to save a life. So I start telling his friend to apply a little bit of pressure.”
Dalipi was taken to hospital, but did not survive.
Police confirmed on the same evening 20-year-old Ahmed Tahir was arrested in the area. He has now been charged with first degree murder.
On Monday, the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team revealed that a second victim arrived in hospital later that day with a gunshot wound.
"Investigators determine that he was in the same immediate area as our victim as the time of the shooting," Supt. Dave Chauhan said. "What I can tell you is that this individual is an innocent victim, and he just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time."
The bystander's injuries were not life-threatening, authorities said.
Chauhan said the people involved in the incident have “criminal affiliations.”
“It would be premature for me to link to a specific gang,” he said.
IHIT says Dalipi was "loosely" known to police but did not have a criminal record.
Investigators also would not say whether or not the killing may have any connections to Sunday’s fatal shooting at the Vancouver airport.
A person with the same name as Tahir is facing a number of charges currently before the courts, including possession for the purpose of trafficking. A person with that name also faced an attempted murder charge related to a shooting in New Westminster in 2019, which ended up being stayed. A five-year firearms ban was issued.
Robin said what happened in their usually quiet neighbourhood is tragic.
“I teach my students that gun violence is not the answer, and there’s other ways you can channel your anger and your energy in a positive way,” he said. “I felt like I did my part trying to help to save this child’s life, because that’s somebody’s child. You know, in spite of whatever they are, whatever they do, it’s somebody’s child, a mother is grieving right now.”
An online fundraiser set up to help Dalipi’s family with funeral costs had raised over $16,000 as of Monday evening.
“Toni was a loving, kind, gentle young man,” the page reads. “He loved his family so much and all he wanted to do was to make everyone around very proud of him.”
At a joint news conference attended by multiple police agencies on Monday, authorities acknowledged growing concern from the public over the recent spike in gang violence in the Lower Mainland, and insisted they are doing everything they can to keep communities safe.
Dwayne McDonald, assistant commissioner of the B.C. RCMP, said police are "committed and will be relentless in our hunt" of those responsible for putting the public at risk.
"I do know with certainty that if someone remains in the gang lifestyle, it stops in only one of two ways: jail or death," McDonald said. "It's as simple as that."
B.C.'s anti-gang task force, the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit, said the public can expect to see a more visible police presence in their communities as different local law enforcement agencies work together to tackle the mounting threat.
But Asst. Commissioner Manny Mann also stressed the need for anyone with information on gang activity to come forward and co-operate with investigators.
"Withholding information and keeping information to yourselves, if you have any as it relates to this gang violence – those times are over, folks," Mann said. "Those of you that have information, whether it's family, friends, other community members, call your police. We need that information to advance our investigations."
Tahir has a court date on June 1.