Gang killings: B.C.'s top cop to meet with chiefs to make sure 'all tools' being used
VANCOUVER -- B.C.’s top cop will meet with Metro Vancouver police chiefs on Thursday afternoon amidst an escalation in gang-fueled shootings across the Lower Mainland that has seen numerous targeted killings in public places, putting innocent people at risk.
The meeting between Public Safety Minister and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth and the chiefs will be held virtually to “(assess the) situation on the ground” and to “look at what additional steps, if any, are required,” Farnworth said on Wednesday.
Earlier this week, Premier John Horgan said he was as “appalled as all British Columbians” with the violence, which included the fatal shooting of a well-known gangster Sunday afternoon outside Vancouver International Airport's departures hall.
Investigators are searching for at least two suspects they say shot at police after speeding away from the scene, then set their getaway vehicle on fire some 30 kilometres away.
Horgan said he was confident Farnworth and law enforcement would come up with “new solutions and new objectives to meet this challenge.”
Police have repeatedly indicated that they are extensively collaborating and sharing information about a number of high-profile fatal shootings in recent weeks, many of which they have said they believe to be driven by gangsters vying for control of the Lower Mainland drug trade, or retaliating against one another.
The motives for other shootings, like the killing of corrections officer Bikramdeep Randhawa outside a shopping centre in Delta on May 1, appear to be less clear.
Some experts have suggested the pandemic has played a role both in disrupting the drug trade and pushing gang members to take chances that put the public at increased risk.
Others have pointed to evidence that some of the perpetrators involved seemed to be inexperienced in terms of their tactics and therefore more willing to put innocent people in the crossfire.
On Sunday, at a news conference held at the scene of the airport killing, the officer in charge of the Richmond RCMP detachment sought to reassure British Columbians.
“We will be taking next level strategies, not just collaboration with other law enforcement agencies or our partners, but a multi-pillared approach which will involve enforcement, education, awareness, and prevention,” Chief Supt. Will Ng said.
The next morning, at a news conference to announce an arrest in the death of a 19-year-old last Saturday outside a Burnaby vape shop, Mounties said the challenge in tackling the violence was not an issue of resources.
A day later, the premier said, “We need to make sure we’re focused like a laser on the criminality here” and “the first order of business is to stop the flow of people into the gang lifestyle.”
And on Wednesday, Farnworth added: “The bottom line is this. The province and the police are doing everything we can to deal with this situation, and everybody is working from the same page.”