Shots fired, man stabbed near busy Metro Vancouver shopping centre
VANCOUVER -- Just over a week since a young man was shot and killed at a Coquitlam, B.C., basketball court, police in the city are investigating another incident involving gun violence in a busy public place.
The latest shooting happened Monday afternoon near a major mall, and while no one was hit, investigators are still looking for the person responsible.
Police said a fight broke out in the parking lot at Coquitlam Centre, about 100 metres from the mall’s east entrance. A 23-year-old man was stabbed and took himself to hospital. Coquitlam RCMP Const. Deanna Law said the victim is known to them and has not been co-operating with investigators.
Shortly afterwards, a shot was fired nearby at Northern Avenue and Baldwin Street, prompting numerous calls to police at about 4 p.m. No one was injured, but a hole could be seen in a large water tank at a local garden centre.
“It is unclear if the stabbing and the shooting are related,” Const. Law said. “Or (if) there is any connection with the ongoing Lower Mainland gang conflict.”
A week prior, 20-year-old Bailey McKinney was killed on a busy evening at popular Town Centre Park in what investigators have called a targeted shooting. So far, no arrests have been been made.
There have now been five reported incidents involving gun violence in Coquitlam since late March. Mayor Richard Stewart said things are happening at a level and frequency they don’t typically see.
“It’s really disconcerting. It’s upsetting, it’s unnerving,” he said. “A lot of our residents, they’re deeply troubled. This isn’t what Coquitlam is about.”
Sgt. Frank Jang with the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team said for two of their recent cases, including the Town Centre Park shooting and a shooting outside the Langley Sportsplex last week, young children have been among the witnesses.
“We spoke to witnesses as young as six years old, if you can believe, because it happened at a park, it happened in front of a sportsplex where there’s a daycare,” he said. “That’s something obviously we dont want to see.”
Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said the recent violence is very concerning.
“What we’ve seen lately is a spike. That happens from time to time, “ he said. “But I can tell you this: the police departments, the integrated homicide investigation teams, the co-ordinated forces special enforcement units are all working together.”
Const. Law said Coquitlam RCMP have stepped up patrols around the city.
“There definitely is an element of danger, and as police, we can’t predict where that’s going to happen,” she said. “But we certainly take all measures that we can to make sure the community is safe.”
Police believe there were multiple people involved in the fight in the parking lot. They are looking for any witnesses, or any dashcam or cell phone video from the area Monday afternoon.
Anyone with information on this latest violent crime is asked to call Coquitlam RCMP at 604-945-1550 .