Homicide investigators called to North Vancouver after fatal late-night shooting
VANCOUVER -- Homicide investigators have identified the victim of a fatal late-night shooting in North Vancouver, hoping that it will lead to more information being brought forward from the public.
Police were called to the alley between 17th and 18th streets near St. Andrews Avenue shortly before 11 p.m. after getting reports of shots being fired.
“I hear like pop, pop, pop outside. And I thought it was firecrackers at first until I heard the neighbours screaming,” said neighbour Donavan Galcso. “I think I heard one of them say they got shot like five times or something like that.”
Once police arrived, they found two victims who were shot at while they were sitting inside a vehicle. One man – 43-year-old Alireza Serri – died from his injuries.
The second, whose name isn't being released, was taken to hospital with unspecified injuries and has since been released.
"We believe this was targeted. This certainly was not random. We're still trying to determine if this was gang-related," Sgt. Frank Jang told reporters Thursday afternoon.
Investigators are now asking the public for any details that could help them figure out who shot Serri. They're still trying to understand why the Vancouver resident was in North Vancouver at the time and who he might have been visiting.
Investigators say neither man lived at the home the car was parked near in the alley.
They also asked for any dash cam video from the area or from either of the two bridges leading in and out of the North Shore.
"We want people to realize there's a family grieving behind the scenes. Please don't forget that," Jang said as he appealed for information.
The day after the shooting, police were seen scouring the area. One home and a section of the street were blocked off by police tape.
Because the shooting is not believed to be random, police say there is no ongoing risk to public safety, but that has done little to calm the nerves of residents who woke up to the sound of gunfire.
“I’m just surprised. It’s scary, but I guess it’s everywhere,” said Ruth Huddleston, who lives just a couple of blocks away.
Police say they understand how traumatic violence like this can be for people living nearby.
“The information that IHIT has provided is that it was targeted and specific, but of course it’s alarming for people,” said Sgt. Peter DeVries of the North Vancouver RCMP. “It’s alarming for people who live in these neighbourhoods and hear the shots being fired at night.”
According to court documents, a man with the same name as the victim, and who is the same age, was sentenced to nine months jail time and 18 months' probation on Nov. 22, 2019, after being convicted of several charges related to mail and identity theft.
That man was initially charged with 24 counts following a West Vancouver Police investigation into reports of a large-scale mail theft in that city, leading to identity theft amounting to $130,000 in fraudulent charges.
The court registry lists a Judicial Interim Release hearing for Serri in North Vancouver court Wednesday morning — just hours before the fatal shooting. That hearing is under a publication ban.
Homicide investigators would not confirm during their news conference that this was the same individual who was killed in Wednesday's shooting.
Anyone with information or video is asked contact homicide investigators at 1-877-551-4448. Tips can also be left anonymously with Crime Stoppers.