Shortly after police staged a presser at Surrey’s E Division headquarters in Green Timbers on Thursday morning on what they’re doing to curb gun violence in the Lower Mainland, the Surrey RCMP issued a press release about yet another shooting that happened overnight, this time in Fleetwood.
A man with a gunshot wound was taken to hospital with injuries that weren’t considered to be life-threatening after he was shot inside a residence in the 8700-block of 152 Street. Police responded to the call at 1:44 a.m. “Although the investigation is still in early stages, initial indications are that the shooting was targeted,” said Cpl. Vanessa Munn of the Surrey RCMP.
This was the third shooting in Surrey in less than three days. A suspect was arrested at the scene after a 31-year-old man was shot in the 13400-block of 66A Avenue in Newton at about 9 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 18. On Wednesday, Jan. 19, a 24-year-old man and 57-year-old were shot inside a warming centre in the 10600-block of King George Boulevard in Whalley, shortly after 3 a.m. The victims in these two cases also received injuries not considered to be life-threatening.
Supt. Duncan Pound of CFSEU says recent shootings in Surrey, Langley and Coquitlam related to street level drug trafficking not LM gang conflict. pic.twitter.com/XCfB46fw54— Tom Zytaruk (@tomzytaruk) January 20, 2022
Meantime, at Thursday’s press conference Chief Supt. Ghalib Bhayani, RCMP operations officer for the Lower Mainland, told a handful of reporters that the RCMP and B.C.’s Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFSEU-BC) developed initiates “that have resulted in a slowing down of the gun violence” on local streets in the latter part of 2021.
“Unfortunately, what we are experiencing now is an evolution, in that we are seeing street-level criminals in what looks like interpersonal conflicts creating violence on our streets,” he said.
Bhayani noted that since the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) was launched in 2003, about 33 per cent of all homicides it has investigated have been connected to organized crime.
Supt. Duncan Pound, deputy operations officer for CFSEU-BC, said “early indications” are that three recent shootings in Surrey, Langley and Coquitlam in which one victim was killed and innocent bystanders were injured, appear to be connected to street-level drug trafficking, and are not believed to be connected to one another.
“They do not, at this time, appear to have any direct links to the Lower Mainland gang conflict,” Pound said. “The disregard for the safety of the public and the police that gun-carrying criminals continually show, highlighted by recent events, is unacceptable and we are doing everything we can to hold those responsible accountable.”
Duncan said police agencies are working together at the “highest level it’s been in many years” against gun violence in the Lower Mainland.
Since IHIT took over investigating homicides from the Surrey RCMP’s serious crimes section in June 2003 it has to date cleared 144 of the total 257 homicide cases it has investigated in Surrey. That is a clearance rate of 56 per cent.
These cases, IHIT told the Now-Leader, “have been cleared by charge, recommended charge, or cleared otherwise.”
Surrey has recorded one homicide to date in 2022, on Jan. 9. The city had 10 homicides in 2021 and 12 in 2020. In 2019 there were 21. In 2018 there were 15 homicides and the most Surrey recorded in any given year was 25 in 2013, breaking the previous record of 21 in 2005.