Man killed in Lower Mainland's latest public shooting had gang ties, police say
VANCOUVER -- The man killed in Thursday night's brazen shooting at a busy shopping mall in Burnaby, B.C., has been identified as a 23-year-old with gang affiliations.
The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team said Jaskeert Kalkat was one of the three people struck by gunfire at the Market Crossing shopping complex. The other two, a man and a woman, survived but suffered what authorities described as severe injuries.
"It's still early in the investigation but we believe all three were targeted in the shooting," Sgt. Frank Jang said Friday.
Kalkat was known to police and investigators believe his gang ties played a role in his murder.
"Is this related to the Lower Mainland gang conflict?" Jang said. "The answer is yes, based on the information we have."
The shots rang out shortly after 8:30 p.m. Thursday, in a public area littered with innocent bystanders – circumstances similar to several of the other recent shootings in the region, including another in Burnaby last weekend that left one person dead and an innocent man injured.
Burnaby Mayor Mike Hurley acknowledged the violence has left many residents on edge, but said the city remains a "safe community."
"We will not tolerate this. This is not who we are as Canadians," Hurley said. "This cycle of violence must end. Everyone needs the confidence of knowing they're safe when they go shopping, visit a park or walk on our streets."
The shooting appeared to have happened in the mall parking lot just outside the Cactus Club Cafe. Holly Clark, a server at the restaurant, described a chaotic scene that erupted after the shots rang out.
“We just heard tables flipping and people screaming,” said Clark. “It was really scary. We all ducked and we didn’t know what to do. I thought I was going to get shot."
Broken dishes, shattered glass and toppled furniture were left on the patio in the aftermath.
“You could see everybody on the patio jumping over the barrier here and just fleeing and hiding behind the rocks and stones and different trees,” said Amberlynn Hooge, who was inside the restaurant at the time.
Witness video taken at the scene shows officers in white forensic suits pulling an unresponsive man from a BMW littered with more than a dozen bullet holes.
They laid him on the ground in the parking lot and started doing CPR. Two other people were put onto stretchers and loaded into ambulances.
Market Crossing has dozens of stores and restaurants and was very busy at the time. Another witness, who identified himself as Ron, said he heard "a lot of pops and bangs and cracks" that he initially thought was fireworks.
Dash cam video posted on social media captured what sounded like well over a dozen rounds.
“You expect if there's going to be a shooting there's going to be a few shots," Ron said. "This seemed very rapid.”
About half an hour after the shooting, police were called to reports of a white SUV burning in South Surrey. It was found on a dead-end road near 184 Street and 18th Avenue.
Investigators believe the vehicle was involved in the shooting, and asked anyone who may have captured the getaway on dash cam video to contact police.
Jang said the fastest route from Market Crossing to the location where the vehicle was set ablaze is to head down Highway 91, turn onto Highway 99 and then head east on 16th Avenue.
"If you were driving along that route last night and you have dash cam video… we need you to check that footage and we need you to contact us right away," Jang said. "It is crucial evidence and we need it."
The gang war in the Lower Mainland has become increasingly brazen, with gangsters gunned down outside, toy stores, rec centres and even Vancouver International Airport.
Public Safety Minister and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth met with leaders of policing agencies across the region Thursday to identify gaps in the system.
“Police said it's not about resources so I also want to make sure there's not any other areas we need to be focusing on,” he said.
No suspect information has been released about the latest shooting, though IHIT is expected to provide an update on the investigation.
Anyone with information is asked to call the IHIT Information Line at 1-877-551-IHIT (4448) or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Those who want to anonymous can instead contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).