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Police concerned about escalating gang violence in Burnaby

Four shootings have been reported this year and they are linked to a spike in gang violence in the city last summer, according to police.
police tape

Police in Burnaby are concerned about an escalating gang conflict in the city after four shooting calls this year.

The latest incident, last Friday just before 8 p.m. in the 6600 block of Humphries Avenue, involved gunshots and a black SUV being pursued by a dark sedan southbound on Humphries Avenue, according to witnesses.

Burnaby RCMP attended the area and located and detained three persons of interest, all youths.

They were released to their parents, but police are now investigating what involvement, if any, they had in the incident, according to a news release.

No victims were located.

Less than two weeks earlier, on May 30, police responded to a shots-fired call at about 2:15 a.m. near Lougheed Mall.

On arrival, officers located an uninjured 17-year-old male who said he’d been shot at while driving.

“It is still early in our investigation into (the June 12 shooting); however, it does appear to be an escalation of an existing conflict here in Burnaby,” media spokesperson Cpl. Mike Kalanj said. “Also of concern to us is the ages of those involved. Many are youth, so we’re asking for citizens of our community and for family members to be aware of who their children are associating with and to report anything suspicious to police.”

All of the four shootings this year are believed to be related, according to Kalanj.

None of the people involved are cooperating with police, he said.

Police believe the incidents are also linked to a spike in gang violence in the city last summer.

At a meeting of the city’s public safety committee last year, Insp. Kathy Hartwig said the detachment had faced a spike in gang violence in July.

One incident, on July 15, involved a 14-year-old who showed up at Burnaby Hospital with gunshot wounds, saying he’d been shot in the 3000 block of Dorchester Drive.

Hartwig said the violence stemmed from a conflict between two known Lower Mainland gangs – one with ties to Burnaby – and was behind a number of violent incidents in Squamish, New Westminster and Burnaby.

Kalanj confirmed the recent shootings were “linked to the same people.”

“These are concerning incidents that we do not want to see taking place in Burnaby or any other community for that matter,” he said.

To combat the violence, Kalanj said Burnaby RCMP is investigating each shooting, continuing proactive patrols and focusing resources on hot spots where those involved are known to congregate.

“We are continuing education through our youth officers who regularly engage with at-risk youth and their families to ensure they are aware of the risks involved with gang lifestyles,” Kalanj said. “These youth officers provide regular followup with these individuals and are available to support them in person and through referrals to other support agencies.”

Police are asking anyone who witnessed the shooting on June 12 or has dashcam video taken in the area of Humphries Avenue and Imperial Street to speak with police.

Contact Burnaby RCMP at 604-646-9999. To remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or