Gang-related west side shooting injures 10 people
By Tiffany Crawford and Douglas Quan, Vancouver Sun and Postmedia News December 12, 2010 11:17 AM Comments (16)
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Callers to 911 reported a succession of shots near Oak and West 23rd Avenue at about 2 a.m. Sunday morning, police said in a news release.Photograph by: Google maps, Vancouver Sun
VANCOUVER -- At least 10 people were shot — two critically — early Sunday morning in what Vancouver police described as an “outrageous display” of gang violence in the city’s west side.
Six men and three women are being treated for gunshot wounds. Two of the nine victims are in critical condition and a tenth victim has refused treatment, Vancouver police Const. Jana McGuinness said in a news release.
Callers to 911 reported a succession of shots near Oak and West 23rd Avenue at about 2 a.m. Sunday morning, police said in a news release. The area has a mix of small businesses, apartments and houses.
Dave White, a local radio reporter who lives near the crime scene, said he was dozing off to sleep when heard about five gunshots. He said he initially brushed it off.
Then he heard a scream, followed by another rapid succession of shots — perhaps a dozen, he said — followed by more screaming.
“Go, go, go,” he heard someone yell.
“I had a cold, pit feeling in my stomach,” he said.
White said he grabbed his gear and ran outside.
He said he saw two vehicles — a red Chrysler Sebring and a white BMW SUV — speed down Oak Street.
Ann Oxendale, who has lived in the area for 20 years, was in her ground-level apartment watching TV when she heard shots fired. She and her 24-year-old son rushed to the window and saw two cars speeding off southbound.
“I heard a woman scream, or at least I thought it was a woman,” Oxendale said. “And then I saw the two cars speeding up that way, so I went to grab the phone. By then the police arrived. It happened really fast. I stayed inside because I thought I should stay out of the way.”
White said he saw a group of people huddled outside a Subway restaurant.
There was also a woman “moaning and groaning” in the alcove of a Best Neighbours Restaurant nearby.
Paramedics quickly loaded her up in an ambulance.
“The ambulances kept coming,” he said.
When officers arrived in the area they found a number of people suffering from gunshot wounds in the 3800-block of Oak St. Additional victims were found a short distance away on the street and more turned up at local area hospitals over the next hour, having made their way there in private vehicles.
Another resident, Paul Wolf, said he was asleep when he heard about five or six gunshots. Initially, he said he thought someone was banging on the metal trash containers in the back alley. But then he heard several more shots.
He opened the blinds in his bedroom and saw about 20 young people running out of a narrow alleyway behind the Best Neighbours Restaurant toward the street.
He later walked outside and saw a man in handcuffs outside the Subway.
“Pretty unnerving,” said the father of young children.
As of 10:30 a.m., Oak Street is still closed in both directions between West 21st and West 25th avenues and no traffic is getting through. A large crime scene is taped off.
Two piles of clothes, including a blood-stained white T-shirt, a black Puma sneaker and torn-up jeans sat on the ground behind yellow police tape.
A wallet with a driver’s license sticking out, and a BlackBerry were also visible.
McGuinness said investigators were combing for clues over a stretch of four blocks. Several evidence markers lay on the rain-soaked sidewalk.
Police officers were also guarding the entrance to the emergency ward at nearby Vancouver General Hospital.
Police said several people are in custody as of Sunday morning.
Oxendale said she has never been afraid in her neighbourhood before this incident.
“I picked this area because it’s safer than Whalley,” she said.
About a week ago, graffiti tags appeared on mailboxes and newspaper boxes in the area, Oxendale said, adding that area residents were concerned that gang activity could be creeping into the neighbourhood.
Police said a number of witnesses are being transported to the police station for interviews.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the VPD Major Crime Robbery Assault Squad at 604-717-2541 or Crime Stoppers at 1800-222-8477. firstname.lastname@example.org
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