Gang violence on upswing this year in B.C.

CFSEU anti-gang police release 2015 community report, new End Gang Life videos

Scene from one of the CFSEU's End Gang Life videos.

Scene from one of the CFSEU's End Gang Life videos.

Gang violence has shot up this year in B.C. after a two-year lull.

There have been 30 gang-linked murders and attempted murders as of June 30, nearly twice as many as the 18 in all of 2014 and up from 24 in 2013.

Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit Chief Supt. Kevin Hackett said many of the incidents were in Surrey or Delta, where B.C.’s anti-gang police unit worked closely with local officers to suppress conflict between rival groups, with success later in the year.

“Street level drug traffickers brazenly shot at each other from moving vehicles and engaged in gun battles on our roads putting the community at risk,” Hackett said.

His comments were published this week in the CFSEU’s 2015 community report. It can be found at bc-anti-gang.com.

According to statistics released in the report, the average age of a gang violence victim is 25 years old, which is younger than in previous years. The youngest victim this year was 15, while the oldest was 66.

Over the past 10 years, there have been 15 female victims of gang violence and there have been 35 mass gang shootings (involving multiple victims of gun violence at one location) claiming 85 victims.

Significant arrests have been made this year.

Two men face charges in connection with a series of arsons and shootings in previous years targeting staff of the Justice Institute of B.C.

Hackett also cited the arrests of two extremely violent and prolific dangerous offenders from Edmonton in the Lower Mainland who were tied to crimes in B.C. and Alberta, including murders, attempted murders and violent home invasions involving the torture and mutilation of victims.

Hackett said a joint forces operation led by the CFSEU was needed because the “brazen and transient” crime group posed a higher risk to public safety.

In the courts, the trial of three men for the 2011 murder of gangster Jonathan Bacon in Kelowna is expected to get underway next spring.

The community report features one young woman’s insider story of life within a gang – packaging cocaine for sale, acting as a cross-country drug mule and growing increasingly terrified as risks escalate and drug deals go wrong.

Early on she had been seduced by the lifestyle, befriending gang members, including two young men who would later end up dead off Colebrook Road in Surrey. “That’s literally where gangster dreams go to die,” she said.

The unnamed woman describes an open casket funeral of one of the young victims – a deliberate choice of his parents to show the bullet through his head.

She was one of the lucky ones who has escaped the life.

Less fortunate was Brianna Kinnear who once reassured her worried mom “They don’t murder girls.”

The 22-year-old was found shot to death in a pickup truck in Coquitlam in 2009. Her murder is unsolved and her tearful mother is featured in a new CFSEU video.

The report also highlights two Abbotsford high school students who were executed in 2009 on Sumas Mountain as examples of adolescents lured by the temptation of a luxury lifestyle fueled by drug cash.

“They were not high-level drug lords,” the report says of the slain Grade 12s from W. J. Mouat Secondary School. “They were two kids who wanted to be able to pay for a limousine to get to prom.”

It says B.C. teachers are reporting children as young as nine asking 11-year-olds on elementary school playgrounds who they can talk to about selling some drugs.

Prevention remains a major focus of the CFSEU, which continues to press its End Gang Life initiative with school presentations and emotional videos from former gang members or surviving loved ones.

The province has committed new funding for 35 additional presentations of the CFSEU’s End Gang Life presentation to school students in the Lower Mainland, the Okanagan and Vancouver Island.

The sessions aim to demystify the tactics of gang recruiters and better equip kids to resist them.

They’re led by former gang member Jordan Buna, who served time in jail before becoming a spokesman for the End Gang Life program.

“Even though I was lucky and got out, being part of a gang was a death sentence for most of the people I knew. That is the reality of gang life,” Buna said. “It robbed me of so many opportunities and exposed me to horrifying scenes that I will never forget.”

Recent End Gang Life videos

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The RCMP arrest one of the suspects on Highway 97 courtesy of cell phone footage shot by a bystander. (April Thomas photo)
WATCH: Two suspects arrested after multi-jurisdictional chase

A half dozen police cars were seen heading north on Highway 97

Commercial tenants at the Williams Lake Regional Airport have been granted an additional six-month rent reprieve. (Angie Mindus file photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Continuing rent relief for Williams Lake Airport tenants considered

City council discussed the option during a committee of the whole meeting

The Grade 2 class of 150 Mile House Elementary attended Cariboo Memorial Hospital with teacher Kirsty Bowers to deliver “kindness” bags full of small gifts to housekeeping staff. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
150 Mile House students deliver gift bags showing appreciation for hospital staff

Students begin Monday morning with a bus trip to Cariboo Memorial Hospital

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Interior Health reports 16 new COVID-19 cases

423 cases remain active in the region

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

Kamloops This Week
Cause of Kamloops landfill fire may never be known

Fire investigators are dealing with too much destruction in too large an area

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

The machines are located in four cities across Canada, including Vancouver and Victoria

Kelowna’s lakefront visitor centre is one of 130 around the province. Tourism businesses have been hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions on travel. (Destination B.C.)
Tourism, small business getting COVID-19 help, B.C. minister says

$300M grant program has delivered $50 million so far

The incident happened in downtown Castlegar. Photo: Betsy Kline
Castlegar teen recounts stabbing after stranger breaks into grandmother’s house

The unnamed teen survived a terrifying attack Feb. 21

Most Read