VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The Vancouver Police Department has been hearing from witnesses, but there are still many unanswered questions following Saturday’s deadly shooting that killed an innocent 15-year-old.
As of Wednesday, police had not released any information about arrests or motive in the shooting, but Sergeant Jason Robillard said people had reached out to VPD with information.
“I’m not sure exactly how many we have, but I do know we have received feedback and we want as much information as we can. If you haven’t spoken to a police officer and you have information, please call us,” he said, adding police will be canvassing the area through the rest of the week for video from cellphones, dash cams and security cameras.
“With the amount of cell phones, dash cams, CCTV footage in the area and just nowadays in general, it’s going to be a big job for our officers to go through all that video, but we’re prepared to do it.”
Shots rang out Saturday around 9:15 p.m. at the intersection of Broadway and Ontario Street. A 15-year-old boy from Coquitlam, passing by in his parents’ car after a family night out, was hit by a stray bullet in the shootout. He later died in the hospital. A man in his 30’s was also hit, but his injuries were minor.
Police believe the shooting was not random.
We need your help! If you have any cell phone video or dash cam footage from the #shooting that happened on Saturday, January 13, 2018, please send it to our investigators. The instructions for sending the video are attached. Please quote file #2018-8975. #VPD pic.twitter.com/LmkjcOKi1N
— Vancouver Police (@VancouverPD) January 17, 2018
Kevin Whiteside, 23, was also shot and killed in the exchange of gunfire. Whiteside had several previous convictions for drug trafficking, assault and break and enter. Police said Whiteside fired a gun, despite being banned from owning a firearm.
It’s still unclear who fired the gun that killed the teen.
Major developments may soon be revealed in the investigation, according to a former police officer.
“In all likelihood, the VPD — and the gang enforcement team in particular — will be reasonably aware of who the players are here,” says SFU criminology professor Robert Gordon. “It’s highly likely their intelligence sources are giving them some fairly clear indications of who the shooter was.”
However, investigators will need to gather enough credible evidence to justify prosecution.
“Most certainly the forensic side of it will be important so they will have been looking for shell casings and similar physical evidence … and you can expect they will be looking at the footage that was captured by stores other business that have [security video] in the vicinity of the shooting site,” Gordon tells NEWS 1130.
The fact the gun battle took place in a busy Vancouver intersection means there will have been more eyes on the scene and Gordon calls that the one upside to the situation.
“The downside is, of course, that the shooters chose a dreadful spot in which to do this. The probability of collateral damage was quite high. In the past, when these targeted shootings take place, the shooters are usually much more careful about where they do the deed,” he says.
“They, in the past at any rate, have been sensitive to the risk of hitting innocent bystanders because that immediately produces outrage in the community. When there is outrage, it brings heat down on the individuals involved because politicians and police start to get active, more than if it was just a gang member executing another gang member.”
Gordon also believes with an innocent teen dead, investigators may get more help than usual from the other side of the law.
“Those with information who walk on the shadowy side would probably be more inclined to come forward and tell police what they know rather than keeping it quiet because, oddly, even amongst the villains there is still a code of conduct and this would have violated it.”
He suggests it is highly likely there will be “significant developments” as information comes forward but, at the same time, police face a daunting task.
“They have to try to get that information from individuals who may be a little fearful about parting with it, simply because of the consequences to themselves,” says Gordon.
“It depends on who the shooter or shooters were involved with, but I’m sure the police already have a pretty good idea of what groups we’re talking about here.”
The Vancouver Police Department has more than 50 investigators working on the case but has yet to reveal any suspects.