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Surrey's top cop suspects shootings linked to drug trade

Last Updated Aug 9, 2017 at 5:35 pm PST

The scene of a shooting in the Clayton Heights area of Surrey. (Bruce Claggett, NEWS 1130 Photo)

There have been no arrests in any of these cases

While Mounties have not identified any suspects, there are some people they'll likely be talking to

There have been more than 30 shootings or shots fired calls in Surrey so far this year

SURREY (NEWS 1130) –  Many in Surrey remain concerned following a day which saw three separate shootings. But the RCMP says it has plenty to work with as it investigates.

The city’s commanding officer suspects recent shootings may be drug-related.

“I think it’s early to say, but I am confident enough to say that these shootings would be linked to lower-level drug activity, at least two of the three,” explains Assistant Commissioner Dwayne McDonald.

He adds Mounties have identified a number of persons of interest.

“We do have investigative leads with respect to the files that occurred yesterday,” explains McDonald. “We have our overt gang-enforcement team that are working long into the night, every night, doing proactive enforcement. We also have our investigative and covert teams that are targeting individuals involved in gang violence and also in drug activity.”

Often, when the RCMP arrives at a shooting scene, there might be a shell casing or two and it can be difficult to take much away.

But Corporal Scotty Schumann says these shootings have provided plenty for investigators to work with.

“Unlike some investigations in the past, where all we had were, for example, shell cases lying in the middle of the road, in this case we have some good, actionable information,” says Schumann.

While confident in the work being done by the RCMP, City Councillor Bruce Hayne says these shootings have him rattled. “Two of those occurred just around the corner from my son and daughter-in-law’s house yesterday,” says Hayne. “It doesn’t matter what community it’s in, it’s outrageous.”

Yesterday, at about 10:30 p.m. in the Fraser Heights area, one man was shot in a car and the attack is being treated as a targeted hit. His injuries are not life-threatening.

Three hours earlier in nearby Clayton Heights, shots were fired between two cars near 72nd Avenue and 192nd Street.

“We looked at each other and joked that it was gunshots,’ says one witness who can’t believe the level of gunfire lately.

That shooting followed an attack on 80th Avenue over the noon hour. Police say a man on a motorcycle shot at a car – he hit the vehicle and a garage. Luckily, no one was hurt but the suspect took off.

Public Safety Minister looks to tackle gang violence

BC’s new Public Safety Minister plans to meet with police in Surrey tomorrow to make sure they have all the resources they need to –as he says– ‘get the job done.’

“For example, around the prevention side, around programs that have been successful such as the WRAP program –and that’s designed to steer people away from the gang lifestyle, but just as important is ensuring that we make sure that the initiatives that are undertaken are in fact the ones that will work,” says Minister Mike Farnworth, who also plans to meet with Vancouver Police next week.

He says investigators already know most of the players in the Lower Mainland’s gang scene, but stronger tools are needed to ensure those criminals stay behind bars –once they’re caught.

“We need to send a very strong message that we are taking this issue very seriously, so key to that is ensuring both police and communities have the resources that they need to get the job done. What’s working really well. What needs to be improved and how can we do that. What’s really needed right now is information. Police know who a lot of these individuals are.”

There have been more than 30 shootings or shots fired calls in Surrey so far this year and this latest gun violence comes just over a week after one member of Surrey RCMP’s brass publicly identified five men, who he says, pose a risk to public safety.

Investigators say the men have been recent targets of shootings and they’re warning those who interact with the men to take extra precautions.

Anyone with information about any of these cases is asked to call Surrey RCMP at 604.599.0502 or Crime Stoppers at 1.800.222.TIPS.