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Daughter hopes reward, public inquiry will lead to clues in dad's murder
Ten years after her father was an innocent victim caught in the crossfire of a gang hit, and as the province opens up a new front in tackling gang violence, a Surrey teen is still mounting an extraordinary effort to find answers in the murder.
Lexus Whitmee, 19, has been speaking to a homicide detective working the case, doing her own investigation to learn more about the intended target and hoping a $10,000 reward will help someone who knows something to speak out.
"The 10 year mark is a big mark. It hits you pretty hard. He’s never coming back," Lexus told CTV News.
Christopher Whitmee was 34 when a gunman burst into the bathroom of the Cloverdale Show Lounge in May 2009, spraying it with bullets.
The intended target survived, but Whitmee died hours later.
Lexus was only nine when she found out. Her dad was supposed to take her to a Taylor Swift concert the next day, she remembered.
"I was sitting on the couch. My daddy had been shot and he didn’t make it. I was screaming and crying. I was so confused. I didn’t understand it. Being nine, it was kind of hard," she said.
But soon, she found the courage to speak out about the case, and is asking for anyone who knew anything to come forward.
"I just hope someone has the decency to come and tell somebody about it," she told CTV News then.
Since then, several more innocent victims have been claimed in Metro Vancouver’s gang war.
Sometimes police are able to lay charges, like in the case of Jonathan Barber, a stereo installer who was driving gangster Jonathan Bacon’s truck.
But sometimes not, like with Alfred Wong, a 15-year-old gunned down in the back seat of his family’s car after getting caught in a reckless gunfight on West Broadway in Vancouver.
Much of the gunfire is over turf wars in the Metro Vancouver drug trade, a deadly business made more profitable by widespread money laundering.
That is the target of a new public inquiry announced this week by the B.C. government, on the strength of a report that found some $7.4 billion had been laundered just last year.
"It became abundantly clear to us that the depth and magnitude of money laundering in B.C. was far worse than we imagined when when we were first sworn in," Premier John Horgan told a press conference.
Lexus says she hopes taking the money out of a criminal lifestyle will mean there’s less to fight over.
"Hopefully that whole investigation will terminate all of the gang activity and the violence. It needs to stop," she said. "I don’t think anybody deserves to get shot."
Every time she visits her dad’s grave, she brings some things she and her dad used to do together.
"Whenever I come here I bring a newspaper to read and bring him Dr. Pepper and I’ll read the newspaper and we’ll hang out, just like we used to," she said.
And she hopes the next time she visits her dad, she can bring him some good news.