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Murder charges in Whistler shooting; long-standing conflict between gangs involved, police say

Whistler, B.C. -

Warning: The details and images in this story may be disturbing to some readers.

Police say two people have been charged after gunfire erupted in a British Columbia resort community over the weekend, resulting in two deaths.

Surrey residents Gursimran Sahota and Tanvir Khakh, ages 24 and 20, were both charged with first-degree murder in Sunday's shooting outside a hotel in Whistler.

Two men were killed in the shooting, which happened over the noon hour in an area popular with tourists and families. One died at the scene and the other died in hospital.

They were identified Monday as Satindera Gill and Meninder Dhaliwal. Both men, as well as the two suspects, were already known to police.

Officers didn't get into details on their previous interactions with those involved, other than to say that Dhaliwal was a high-profile gangster – one of several people identified by the province's anti-gang unit as "posing a significant risk to public safety" because of his connections with gangs.

Three others were arrested Sunday but have since been released, police said at a news conference. As they have not been charged, they have not been identified.

Investigators are still looking into the possibility that others were involved and could face charges.

Officers said the shooting involved gangs that have a long-standing conflict in the area. They're working to mitigate retaliation, as gang-related shootings can lead to further violence.

They did not say exactly how many or which gangs they believe were involved in the shooting, but B.C. RCMP Deputy Comm. Dwayne McDonald said those working the case are "confident (they'll) be able to put a lid on this."

Speaking briefly about gang life in light of a series of fatal shootings in B.C.'s Lower Mainland in a matter of days, McDonald said there are only two ways the situation ends for those involved: death or prison.

He used the news conference to praise the efforts of officers involved, saying the entire situation in Whistler – from the first call to the arrest of the suspects – took just 36 minutes.

He did not say why it took hours for police to inform the public that two people were in custody.

While witnesses and members of the public tried to find out what happened, video posted on social media showed two bodies on the ground just outside the Sundial Boutique Hotel. One was surrounded by blood.

One of those men was later confirmed to be Dhaliwal, whose younger brother was also gunned down in a targeted hit in the Lower Mainland.

Harb was shot in Vancouver's Coal Harbour area last year.

Their brother, Barinder, was captured on camera crying out as police held him back from the crime scene.

Meninder’s death came just 15 months later.

A burning vehicle believed to be linked to the shooting was found a five-minute drive away on Ptarmigan Place, suggesting early on that the shooting was likely tied to gang activity. Police have often found burned vehicles some distance from the scene of gang-related shootings in B.C., an effort from those involved to hide the evidence of their involvement.

The shooting happened just steps from the Whistler Village Gondola.

Greg Janz could see one of the bodies under a yellow tarp from his hotel room across the street.

“Six or seven shots. I’m thinking, 'Where are those bullets flying?' There’s families walking,” said Janz.

People in the village were told to shelter in place as police responded.

Anyone who was in the area of Sundial Crescent or Blueberry Drive, where the burning vehicle was located, between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. with dash-camera video is asked to contact the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team immediately.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the IHIT Information Line at 1-877-551-IHIT (4448) or by email at Top Stories

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