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Deadly shooting at Vancouver airport linked to gangs, police say

A 28-year-old man was shot and killed Sunday at Vancouver International Airport in what police believe was a gang-related killing.

The shooting, which occurred mid-afternoon outside the departures terminal, was the latest in a spate of gang-related violence across B.C.’s Lower Mainland, police said.

Sgt. Frank Jang with the Lower Mainland’s Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT), said the victim was known to police.

Richmond RCMP responded to reports of a shooting at around 3 p.m. local time. Police intercepted the getaway vehicle — an SUV — and were shot at by the suspects, who are still at large, said Jang.

At a media briefing at the airport Sunday night, Jang and Chief Superintendent Will Ng, who is in charge of Richmond RCMP, said they’re frustrated the latest violence occurred in a public area with innocent bystanders.

“They will stop at nothing to target rivals, even if it’s at an international airport in broad daylight on Mother’s Day, and putting everyone at risk, including shooting at a police officer, which indicates to me these people have no care whatsoever,” Ng said.

Police called off car chase

Added Jang: “There are just no further words, please don’t kill one another, please stop the violence.

“Enough is enough,” he said.

Officers weren’t hurt when they were fired upon. They did not not fire back and stopped the pursuit because they were concerned people in the busy area would be hurt, Ng said.

Police are looking for at least two suspects.

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An RCMP officer works at the scene after a shooting at Vancouver International Airport on Sunday. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

There’s been a string of shootings in Metro Vancouver over the last several days, including the murder of a prison corrections officer in the parking lot of a busy Delta, B.C., shopping mall. Delta’s police chief said last week all police departments in B.C.’s Lower Mainland were working on the shootings.

At the airport, traffic cones blocked off a section of the international and Canadian departure areas and police erected white screens in front of an entrance way. Inside the terminal, yellow police tape restricted the same doorway and most of the shops in the area were closed.

On Sunday evening, the Vancouver Airport Authority said in a statement that the airport was open and safe for airport workers and those who need to travel.

It said the safety and security of its employees, community and passengers remains its priority and it is fully co-operating with RCMP to support the investigation.

The incident disrupted major traffic routes near the airport and police asked people to stay away from the area. 

bc airport incident 20210509
Police say they are still searching for one or more suspects related to the shooting. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

The Alex Fraser and Queensborough bridges, as well as the Massey Tunnel, were temporarily closed but have since reopened, according to DriveBC. 

RCMP said it appears the airport shooting is connected to a burned-out vehicle that was found in nearby suburban Surrey, in the 9700 block of Princess Drive at 3:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon.

Jang said police are looking for dashcam video from those who were in the area Sunday between the airport and the location where the vehicle was found on fire to help with their investigation.

Both Jang and Ng called for a coordinated response between law enforcement agencies to solve the gang shootings and make arrests. Ng said police will use “next-level strategies,” to target gang members, which include efforts to try and keep people from joining gangs.

Federal Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said in a statement on Twitter that the shooting was disturbing news.

“My thoughts are with the communities in the Lower Mainland who have been impacted by gun and gang violence far too often, particularly over the last week,” Blair said.

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