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House with children inside scene of latest targeted gang shooting

An RCMP officer gathers evidence at a home on Pacific Road Wednesday morning as police investigate a targeted shooting in Wildwood, which took place in the rental home just before midnight Tuesday. Three young children were in the home at the time of the shooting, which police are saying is gang related. - Angie Mindus photo
An RCMP officer gathers evidence at a home on Pacific Road Wednesday morning as police investigate a targeted shooting in Wildwood, which took place in the rental home just before midnight Tuesday. Three young children were in the home at the time of the shooting, which police are saying is gang related.
— image credit: Angie Mindus photo

Gang violence has erupted in the Williams Lake area once again, this time in the nearby community of Wildwood where a home was the scene of a targeted shooting overnight.

No one was injured in this latest attack, however, it's what was inside the home at the time of the shooting that has police speaking out.

"Those involved need to realize that this house had three kids in it — ages one, two and nine. As police, we are just thankful that these children and no other innocent people were hurt," said Williams Lake RCMP Staff Sgt. Del Byron, noting the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) has been called in to review the matter.

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Not only is Byron wanting to send a message to the suspects that children are becoming the innocent victims in this escalating street gang conflict, he is also not pulling any punches about who is involved.

"This shooting relates to the ongoing gang conflict in our area, specifically between the Indian Outlaws and the 712s," Byron said.

"And we are very concerned that if this kind of high-risk behaviour continues innocent people are going to get seriously hurt or killed."

Police were called to the scene of this latest shooting at approximately 11:53 p.m. Tuesday after one person of many in the home heard sounds outside and opened the front door.

Upon the door opening, two individuals who were standing in the driveway no more than 10 feet from the house, opened fire, shooting four or five times.

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The suspects then fled in what is being described as an older model, dark SUV.

A neighbour said Wednesday he heard the shots but assumed the sound was merely firecrackers. It wasn't until the morning, when the police had the area cordoned off and yellow squares marked the shot gun casings left in the driveway, that he realized what had happened.

He said occasionally he would hear yelling from inside the rental home in question, but nothing too out of the ordinary until the shooting this week.

Byron confirmed the incident in Wildwood is connected to the targeted shooting on the streets of Glendale Jan. 2 which left two young men injured, one seriously. That crime, whose victims are connected to the Soda Creek First Nations, occurred on the one-year anniversary of the unsolved murder of Jesse (Delmer) Frank, a member of the Tl'etinqox-T'in (Anaham) First Nations, who was found on the ice below the Rudy Johnson Bridge.

Byron said the Wildwood shooting is also connected to the high-speed chase and shooting along Western Avenue last June which saw stray bullets flying through the residential area as rival gang members chased one another through the streets before critically injuring one man inside a fleeing vehicle.

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