Four dead after shooting in Penticton; one male suspect in custody

By The Canadian Press
April 15, 2019 - 2:46pm Updated: April 15, 2019 - 5:20pm

PENTICTON, B.C. — The RCMP say a 60-year-old man is in custody after four targeted shootings on Monday that left two men and two women dead in Penticton, B.C.

Supt. Ted De Jager says the suspect turned himself in at the city's police headquarters.

Charges are pending and De Jager says the suspect and the four victims knew each other.

De Jager says the Mounties received a call about a possible shooting in the downtown at about 10:30 a.m., and the suspect was taken into custody about an hour later.

Earlier, police cordoned off the city's downtown and were telling people to avoid the area because of a serious situation unfolding.

They asked the public to follow the direction of police and to avoid specific areas, but later lifted those restrictions.

De Jager said one person was found dead in the north end of the city; the three others were found in the south end.

"We're still trying to find the motive for this whole incident, so that's part of the ongoing investigation," he told a news conference.

"Indications right now are that all four were targeted."

De Jager said more than 30 officers were involved in the response to the shootings.

"I understand that this is a deeply troubling incident that has taken place in our community," he said.

"Our hearts and thoughts are with all those impacted by this terribly tragic incident. Our priority now, will be to speak with the families of those involved and offer our support."

De Jager said an emergency response team was deployed to another place in the city, but police said it was not related to the shootings and the incident was resolved.

Joyce Brennan, a downtown resident, said she was taking out the recycling sometime between 9:30 and 10 a.m. when she heard the sound of three muffled bangs in the distance.

"But there is a lot of construction going on around us here, so I just assumed it was something to do with that," Brennan said.

She said her son called a short time later to say someone was killed near her house.

Shelley Halvorson was in her office at J&E Automotive Services Ltd. in the north end of the city at around 10:30 a.m. when she heard "pop, pop, pop, pop," she said.

"All of a sudden, all these cop cars were swarming the area, and an ambulance showed up, and we went outside and I saw a guy laying in the grass," she said.

The man was laying on the lawn outside a home, she said.

"We were told we had to get back inside because there was a guy — who shot this guy — who was on the loose with a rifle," Halvorson said. 

Three or four officers with rifles and a police dog charged down a nearby side street, while other police officers stayed behind and taped off the area, Halvorson said.

"It was kind of scary," she said. "It's a very quiet area, so it's a little alarming for this to be happening."

Daniel Kenward lives a few houses down and also heard gunshots before police cars arrived and he saw a man lying on the grass outside. The man appeared to be older with white or grey hair, he said.

About 45 minutes later, he heard a sound of "anguish," and his wife looked out the window and saw an older woman hugging someone, Kenward added.

"I don't know what her relationship was to him or anything like that. I just know she was upset. You know that sound," he said.

Wayne Shortreed, who lives in the southern part of the city close to where the three individuals were found dead, said police had shut down at least two blocks of his residential street.

Officers wearing bulletproof vests and police dogs were patrolling the area, he said.

Shortreed said he didn't hear gunshots, possibly because he was operating noisy machinery, but he spoke with an officer who told him he had knocked on his door at about 1 p.m., but there was no answer.

"I asked him, 'What's going on?'" Shortreed said. "'What happened? A hit and run?' He goes, 'Oh no, it's worse than that.'"

— By Laura Kane in Vancouver and Daniela Germano in Edmonton

The Canadian Press

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