Man killed in B.C. strip club may be innocent bystander
Published Monday, May 18, 2009 6:40PM PDT
The sister of a Surrey man who died during a double shooting in a Cloverdale, B.C., strip club this weekend say he was an innocent bystander.
Christopher Roy Whitmee, 34, died in hospital a few hours a gunman burst into the Legacy Show Lounge's bathroom late Saturday night, opening fire on two men.
A 28-year-old also from Surrey remains in hospital in critical but stable condition.
Whitmee's sister, Rachel Goodine, waited 18 years to meet her brother after he was put up for adoption at a young age. She says she's glad for the time they had together, but can't believe it was cut short.
"This isn't supposed to happen," Goodine said. "This is needless. I knew that this was going to happen again, but I didn't know my brother would be the innocent bystander. I just didn't know it would be him."
Goodine remembers her brother as a loving single father, and that his 10-year-old daughter, Lexus, is in shock.
"They were a lot alike, down to the little things like drinking Dr. Pepper and hating eggs," Goodine said.
"They had the same tastes. She is him."
Whitmee's biological mother, who only met him two years ago, is devastated.
"As she put it, she mourned him for 32 years after she put him up," Goodine said. "She finally got him. Now it's starting all over again for her."
Cpl. Dale Carr of the Integrated Homicide Team says the shooting looks targeted, but the incident has not been linked to gangs, drugs or organized crime. Whitmee is not known to police, but the injured man is.
Investigators are still trying to figure out if one of the victims could be an innocent bystander, a theory that may take "days or weeks" to prove.
"We have learned so far that both the victims were not known to each other," Carr said on Sunday.
"That leads us to believe that one of them may be a bystander. We haven't conclusively made that determination but it's certainly something we're looking at."
RCMP are looking for two men who fled the scene around the time of the shooting. Both were wearing hooded sweatshirts and one was possibly carrying a small gun.
Investigators have spoken with several patrons who were inside the club at the time of the shooting, but are still asking for more to come forward.
"We do however need to speak to a great deal more people. If you were in the show lounge at the time of the shooting and have not spoken to police please call the IHIT tip line," Carr said.
Investigators are also asking for a hit-and-run driver to come forward to rule that person out as a suspect in the shooting.
The incident -- which involved a smaller dark two-door vehicle -- took place on nearby Highway 10 only minutes after the incident.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Leah Hendry