Cameron Mackay was at his home on Crown Court on Wednesday night just after 9 p.m. when he heard five bangs that, at first, he thought were firecrackers.
He and his neighbours on the otherwise-quiet cul-de-sac located just west of Clearbrook Road soon learned that the sounds were actually gunshots and that a man had been wounded.
Police converged on the scene to find the victim lying in a yard and performed CPR until BC Ambulance personnel arrived and took over. The man was transported to hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries just before 10 p.m.
The investigation is now being headed by the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT), which has identified the victim as Abbotsford’s Gurdev “Dave” Hair (pictured), 45, who is known to police.
IHIT said the shooting appears to be targeted. No suspects have been identified at this time.
Police have not said whether Hair lived on the street, was visiting people in the area or was driving through. They have also not said where he was situated at the time of the shooting.
IHIT spokesperson Cpl. Meghan Foster said it’s too soon to tell whether the killing is linked to the ongoing Townline Hill conflict, which involves two groups of young men – primarily of South Asian descent – battling for drug turf in west Abbotsford.
“But those who choose to engage in a criminal lifestyle should be aware that they are not immune to the dangers and risk associated to it,” she said.
The neighbourhood was cordoned off on Thursday as investigators remained on the scene.
Mackay, who lives on the corner of Crown Court and Charlotte Avenue, said the incident has left him unsettled.
“Want to buy a house?” he joked. “Time to move.”
Mackay, who has lived on the street since 1994, said he did not know the victim and was unaware of any criminal activity in the neighbourhood, other than minor thefts.
He said he saw two vehicles – a small green car and a taxi – leave the street immediately after the shooting, but didn’t know whether they were associated with the incident.
The taxi returned to the scene at about the same time police arrived, he said.
Mackay said police also detained some men and had them lying in the street, but he didn’t see anyone arrested.
According to the provincial court database, Hair has an extensive criminal record, dating back to 1997, with multiple convictions that include theft, breaching his bail and probation conditions, possession for the purpose of trafficking, possession of stolen property, trafficking in a controlled substance, driving while prohibited, escaping from lawful custody, break and enter, unauthorized possession of a firearm, fleeing from a police officer and robbery.
Hair’s most recent offence – possession of stolen property – occurred last Friday (Aug. 12) and he was scheduled to next appear in Abbotsford provincial court on Sept. 22.
A 1997 court document indicates that Hair was convicted in relation to a February 1995 drive-by shooting, in which he had been hired to shoot a Mission couple who had allegedly told civic authorities about an unlawful suite in their neighbourhood.
The couple and their five-year-old grandson were sleeping when Hair fired several shots into the home, according to the documents. No bullets struck anyone, but they embedded in walls, a stairway, the front door and other areas of the house.
In December 2012, Mission RCMP issued a notice seeking the public’s help in locating Hair and another man – Steve Douglas Godard – for the kidnapping and torture of a 44-year-old man in Mission the previous month.
Hair was arrested shortly after police issued the public notice and charged with kidnapping, unlawful confinement, assault with a weapon and aggravated assault.
He was sentenced to a jail term of almost eight months after pleading guilty to a lesser charge of assault causing bodily harm, with the other charges stayed.
Hair’s death is Abbotsford’s fifth homicide of the year. The other four are:
– David Delaney, 63, is found deceased in his Aspen Court apartment on Feb. 24. Two people have been charged in relation to his death.
– A man, who police have not publicly identified, is injured in a drive-by shooting on March 10 on Hawthorne Avenue and dies in hospital a few days later. No one has been arrested.
– A fight outside of Sevenoaks Shopping Centre on May 1 results in a man’s death. Charges have not yet been laid.
– The body of Orosman Jr. Garcia Arevalo is found May 11 in a blueberry field at No. 2 Road near Boundary Road. No arrests have been made.
Anyone with information about the most recent shooting is asked to call the IHIT tipline at 1-877-551-448 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.