One of the city’s most notorious prolific offenders was fatally shot in what police are calling a targeted, gang-related shooting in Williams Lake Wednesday night.
Indi Johnny, 20, died in hospital of a gunshot wound following a disturbance at a residence in the 1100 block of Second Avenue.
In a news release, RCMP said they received a report at about 7:45 p.m. of shots fired inside the Glendale residence and, at about the same time, received further information that a man had been brought to Cariboo Memorial Hospital suffering from a gunshot wound.
“Unfortunately despite all emergency medical efforts the man succumbed to his injuries at hospital,” said police.
Tsilhqot’in National Government Chair and Anaham Reserve Chief Joe Alphonse said the victim, a resident of Anaham and Williams Lake, had been the centre of a lot of attention in recent months relating to criminal activity, but was also a young man with potential.
“There are good people in his family and they are heartbroken by the loss,” Alphonse said Thursday.
Alphonse said he has received calls of support and condolences from Soda Creek Chief Donna Dixon.
Dixon and Alphonse have been trying to work together to stem the escalating gang violence which has put their two communities at odds, seeing ongoing retaliations between rival gangs, the 712s and Indian Outlaws.
“We are going to continue to work together — we have to come together politically to find a solution. There has been too many losses, we want this to stop. The centre of this issue is Soda Creek and Anaham and we need to pull all our resources together to work on this. Our youth need to find a better way forward.”
In town Thursday to announce a new rural dividends program, Premier Christy Clark said the shooting was tragic.
“There’s really no other way to describe it,” Clark said, noting there will be an announcement coming in the next few weeks detailing a government plan to support police efforts to fight gang violence in Williams Lake.
“People need to feel safe, whether you’re in the First Nations communities or not in the First Nations communities … Williams Lake can’t do it on its own and we can’t have gangsters going into jail and coming out again and committing crime, it just doesn’t work. We have to have a unique set of solutions for Williams Lake. It’s a great community and nobody wants to see this happen here.”
Clark said a more long-term solution to the violence is to address the underlying cause, which is poverty in First Nations communities.
“But that’s not a short-term solution.”
In the meantime, a homicide investigation has been launched into Johnny’s death with members of the North District Major Crime unit along with the local Forensic Identification Team, the North District Regional General Investigations Section, the Williams Lake General Investigations Section and Police Dog Services called in to assist.