The B.C. government expects to introduce new legislation this session to help tackle gun and gang violence, Solicitor-General Mike Farnworth said Monday.
Farnworth said he couldn’t disclose details of the anticipated legislation, but indicated it was in response to discussions with B.C. law-enforcement agencies.
“I am expecting to be tabling some additional legislation that will assist police,” said Farnworth.
He also declined to say if Tuesday’s budget would have new resources to battle the escalating gun and gang violence on top of new funding announced last fall.
Already this year, police across the Lower Mainland are dealing with 12 murders, up from nine at this point a year ago.
Most of them have been targeted, gun-related homicides like the two most recent last Thursday and Friday in Vancouver and Coquitlam. And some have involved innocent bystanders like the still-unsolved murder of teen Albert Wong.
The killings are on top of drive-by shootings that continue across the region.
“It is just disgusting and it is just unacceptable this level of violence that is taking place. People deserve to be safe,” Farnworth said.
The latest drive-by shooting around 8:30 p.m. on Sunday in the 3800-block Ulster Street is in Farnworth’s riding. No one was hurt in the shooting, which left bullet holes in the home’s garage door and shattered the rear windshields of two parked vehicles.
Coquitlam RCMP Cpl. Michael McLaughlin said he wanted to reassure area residents “that we are working hard to solve the crime that happened near their homes.”
Police believe the shooting was targeted and said the house is known to them.
“If you saw anything that could help the RCMP investigation, or if you have video, please call our non-emergency number at 604-945-1550 and ask for the investigative support team,” McLaughlin said.
Also, Monday, the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team released the identity of a man shot to death in Coquitlam on Friday about 10 p.m. near Sylvan Place and Riverview Crescent. Cpl. Frank Jang said the victim of the targeted attack is Donald Robert Kelly, a 45-year-old Burnaby resident, who was found wounded in his vehicle and died later in hospital.
Shortly after the shots-fired calls came in, police were notified of a burning sedan a short distance away at Mariner Way near Dartmoor Drive. Investigators have now determined that the torched vehicle was a 2018 grey Chrysler 300 and would like to speak with anyone with information about it. Jang said that so far “there is no evidence to link Mr. Kelly’s death to other recent homicides or reported acts of violence.”
“There are people who have information about what happened. I urge these individuals to come forward and speak with IHIT so that we can hold those responsible to account,” he said.
Kelly had no criminal charges or convictions in the online court database. Someone with the same name recently had an arrest warrant issued after failing to appear in court for “a payment hearing” related to unpaid rent for a Burnaby property.
Kelly’s murder came a day after Surrey realtor Kaminder Rai, 32, was shot to death in Vancouver’s Kerrisdale neighbourhood. Rai has no criminal history, but does have a number of friends on his Facebook page that are linked to both the Red Scorpions gang and the Hells Angels.
Vancouver police said the Rai murder — the city’s sixth of 2018 — was also targeted.
“As you can imagine, all of these investigations are very active,” VPD Const. Jason Doucette said Monday. “We have a close relationship with other police forces, locally and nationally, and we continue to share information that could help to identify those responsible.”
He urged anyone with information on any of the slayings to contact investigators.
“It’s important for everyone to remember that it’s never too late to call the police,” he said.
The VPD reported last week that the overall crime rate was down 1.5 per cent in 2017 over 2016. But murders were up to 19 last year from 12 in 2016. And shots-fired incidents increased to 31 in 2017 from 26 the previous year.
– With files from Stephanie Ip
- Man killed in Kerrisdale shooting identified as Surrey realtor
- One man dead in targeted Coquitlam shooting Friday night
Murder victim Donald Kelly was killed in Coquitlam.
Police investigate the scene of a drive-by shooting in the 3800-block Ulster Street in Port Coquitlam on Feb. 19. The incident happened at 8:30 p.m. on Sunday. No one was hurt and the victims are known to cops.