Vancouver entrepreneur mourned as victim of Main Street homicide
VANCOUVER -- A Vancouver entrepreneur gunned down behind one of the businesses he co-owned is being remembered by friends as a kind-hearted man who gave back to his community.
Authorities said 30-year-old Amin Shahin Shakur was shot near Main Street and East 48th Avenue at about 11 p.m Monday night and died at the scene. He did not have a recent or extensive history with police, according to a Vancouver Police Department spokesperson.
While investigators were tight-lipped on the case, several friends told CTV News they knew Shakur as Sean and that he was a popular, beloved figure in the community who took the time to know residents and neighbouring businesses in the area. They say he coached underprivileged youth and would pick up garbage in the neighbourhood.
"He and his brother Spencir, amazing people, man. Super humble, friendly. Always open arms and open ears for everybody,” said a visibly emotional friend named Cody De Long. "He was an amazing, amazing soul. Always there to help whoever, always with a smile. Holding down the block, man.”
De Long and others at the scene and on social media say Shakur and Spensir Sangara were co-owners of THC Canada and Dank Mart convenience store.
"RIP Shahin, your smile always made everyone smile," read a note on one of the many bouquets of flowers left in a growing memorial outside the stores. "You are a 'Dank Legend.' Love you like you were my son. South Van truly lost a legend, a kind soul."
Sangara referred to Shakur as his brother in numerous posts on Instagram, but a childhood friend said while the two had been close friends for many years, they were not biological siblings.
"I wish god took me instead. Life is not worth living anymore," wrote Sangara. "I give up. None of this was worth losing my heart."
In July of 2019, he posted to Facebook that "THC Canada has just recieved our provincial licence and will be reopening at the end of summer 2019!"
Police were at the scene overnight and by about 6:30 a.m. the next morning, the BC Coroners Service arrived and pulled what appeared to be a body out from a building.
“We heard bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, like five or six shots fired,” said a neighbour who asked not to be identified. “Then I came to the living room and we were both looking outside and my roommate saw an SUV come down the alley and the guy jumping in it."
Another man, who was enjoying his balcony with a friend on the warm summer evening, heard gunshots before seeing a man run toward a nearby vehicle and take off.
"He was a guy shorter than me, not a very tall guy,” the witness said. "Then we heard the sound of screaming...he was saying ‘I don’t know I don’t know’ and it was very loud.”
Both Dank Mart convenience store and Radical Pizza were open at the time.
Officers were in and out of the businesses overnight interviewing people inside while forensic investigators focused their efforts in the alley in behind, placing more than a dozen evidence markers on the ground.
Neighbours said they were concerned, as there were several people out walking when the incident began unfolding.
Police later said there is no risk to the public but didn't go so far as to say the killing was targeted.
"I can’t say for sure, it appears that way, but can’t say for sure,” said VPD spokesperson Const. Tania Visintin.
Shakur's killing is the eight homicide of the year for Vancouver police, four of which have taken place in the past two weeks. Suspects have been arrested and charged in the other three cases, so while police call the trend concerning, they say the killings aren't connected and are being investigated on their own.
The day before Shakur was shot, he was in a Compound TV video where he and Sangara celebrated the erection of a new Dank Mart billboard in East Vancouver, something they described as a dream come true.
Anyone with dash cam footage who may have been in the area around the time of the shooting is asked to call homicide investigators at 604-717-2500. Tips can also be sent anonymously to Crime Stoppers.
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Alyse Kotyk and Regan Hasegawa