YVR shooting: one dead in Vancouver airport incident that closed roads to Richmond, B.C.
VANCOUVER – Homicide investigators say the victim of a brazen mid-afternoon shooting outside Vancouver International Airport on Sunday afternoon was a 28-year-old man known to police.
The shooting sparked a major police intervention around 3 p.m., which briefly involved the closure of three Canada Line stations and several major roads in an attempt to prevent the killers from escaping.
In the end, however, they fled.
Integrated Homicide Investigation Team spokesperson Sgt. Frank Jang told reporters at YVR on Sunday night that an SUV found on fire in Surrey, 17 miles from the crime scene, was the getaway vehicle.
At least two suspects were inside the vehicle, Jang said, adding that police believe there may be more. The shooting is believed to be linked to the ongoing gang conflict in the Lower Mainland, he added.
Now officers are asking anyone who may have a dash cam video of the route from the airport to the 9700 block of Princess Drive in Surrey – where the flaming SUV was found – to introduce themselves and to talk to the police.
Part of the route between the two places is already known. The Richmond RCMP said earlier Sunday that its officers intercepted the suspicious vehicle as it was fleeing and the suspects inside fired guns at police.
No police were injured in the incident, according to the RCMP.
Supt. RCMP Chief Jang and Richmond. Will Ng expressed his disgust at the actions of the suspects and his fatigue at the continued escalation between gangs in the Metro Vancouver area.
“They will stop at nothing to target their rivals, even if it is at an international airport, in broad daylight on Mother’s Day,” Ng said. “These people have no concern or respect for the safety of our community, and they must be stopped.”
A spokesperson for the British Columbia Emergency Health Services said paramedics on bikes at the airport responded to the scene shortly before 3 p.m. Two ambulances were also dispatched to the airport after the shooting, but no one was taken to hospital, according to EHS.
Much of the airport departures level was behind the police gang on Sunday afternoon, and screens had been installed to prevent the public from seeing the apparent scene of the shooting.
Police appeared to be focusing their attention on a white Mercedes left on the sidewalk outside the airport as they investigated the scene. The luggage could be seen outside the vehicle, and as many as 20 orange cones had been set up nearby, apparently as evidence markers.
As they searched for suspects, police ordered the lockdown of ‘access points’ to the area, which resulted in the closure of several Canada Line stations and several main roads in the city where the airport is located. .
By 4:00 p.m. the roads had reopened and the Canada Line was operating back to the airport.
Jang said the most likely route from the scene of the shooting to where the burning vehicle was found would be via Highway 99, Highway 91 and the Alex Fraser Bridge.
Anyone with dash camera footage of the region is urged to contact IHIT, he said, asking people to call the IHIT information line at 877-551-4448. or stop at the Richmond RCMP Detachment, where detectives will be based for the next few days.
Police will also examine numerous surveillance videos from the airport itself, Jang said.
“Whatever pictures are here, and I guess there are a lot of them, we’re going to have them all,” he said. “It’s going to be a mountain of work.”
The Vancouver Airport Authority, which operates the airport, said in a statement Sunday night that its thoughts are with those affected by the shooting incident.
“The airport is open and safe for airport workers and those who need to travel,” the statement said. “We recommend that all passengers check with their airline for the status of their flight if they are traveling today. The safety and security of our employees, the community and passengers remain our priority, and we are fully cooperating with the RCMP to support the investigation.
Sunday’s shooting comes amid escalating violence in the Lower Mainland.
Less than 24 hours earlier, a 19-year-old man was shot dead in a targeted shootout in Burnaby which police say may have been linked to a gang.
Several other targeted shootings have taken place in the past two months and police have expressed concern over an increase in gang violence.
Federal Public Safety Minister Bill Blair added his voice to the chorus of officials troubled by the situation in the region on Sunday.
“Disturbing news from the Vancouver airport tonight,” said Blair on Twitter. “My thoughts are with the communities of the Lower Mainland that have been too often affected by gun and gang violence, especially over the past week.