RMP confirms Coquitlam's two latest shootings — nearly four months apart — are connected to each other, with one man at its centre.
Chris Irwin, who is known to police, was believed to be the intended target of a pair of Lower Mainland gang-conflict shootings in the Westwood Plateau neighbourhood.
Both took place in the 1600-block of Chickadee Place on Dec. 4, 2021, and March 25, 2022.
In each incident, reports of a vehicle fire followed up in Port Moody and were connected to their respective shooting.
Spokesperson Const. Deanna Law is asking local residents who may be associated with Irwin to take warning.
"Be aware and vigilant," she explained in an interview with the Tri-City News today (April 4).
"We, as police know, the issue of gangs and organized crime. It's one of the top policing priorities across the country and remains the top priority for the Province of British Columbia. But police also need information to move investigations forward. And this is why we're pleading to the public for any information, as insignificant as they might think that it is; there's no information that's too insignificant for us, for us to take a look at."
Law adds there is other information linked to the investigation that can't be released at this time, when asked by the Tri-City News.
However, she said there is "sufficient evidence" that clearly indicated Irwin was the target of both shootings.
Two members of the public were injured from each incident.
A young boy's father was taken to hospital after first responders found him suffering from a gunshot wound after 4:40 p.m. on Dec. 4, 2021.
His nine-year-old son was in the backseat of a vehicle and was not hurt when the shooting took place.
The victim was treated for non-life threatening injuries and was later released. It was also the first known Coquitlam shooting in seven months at the time.
Police believed the shooting was connected to ongoing gang violence in the region and have since determined it was a case of mistaken identity.
According to Mounties, the victim "was not the intended target of the shooter" and "has no known gang ties or criminal involvement."
Moments later that same day, a vehicle fire was reported on Maude Court in Port Moody — a silver Infinity G35 from the early 2000s.
EXPLOSION INJURES BYSTANDER
The second shooting connected to Irwin happened just 10 days ago in broad daylight.
Before 3:40 p.m. on March 25, RCMP responded to reports of shots fired on Chickadee Place and found Irwin with what were deemed as non-life threatening injuries.
Not long after the shooting, Port Moody police (PMPD) responded to reports of a vehicle on fire, a Toyota Rav 4, in the 2200-block of Hope Street, since been connected to the shooting.
A bystander was left with serious injuries "from an explosion of the vehicle" but remains in stable condition, according to PMPD spokesperson Const. Sam Zacharias in an earlier statement, adding firefighters quickly doused the flames.
Since then, a second vehicle of interest has come to officers' attention: a newer model black Hyundai Sante Fe, license plate number FL3 35K.
Mounties are hoping the public can help by submitting dashcam footage "in determining the current location" of the SUV.
"Given the most recent attempt made on the life of Chris Irwin, resulting in injuries to unrelated members of the public, police want to warn the public that anyone with Irwin or in proximity to Irwin may be putting themselves at risk, including his own family and friends," Law said, noting police are also looking to determine the identities of all suspects involved in shootings.
"Known gang members often travel between jurisdictions and it is important for the public to be aware so that appropriate measures can be taken to ensure their safety."
Anyone with more information on either of these incidents is encouraged to call Coquitlam RCMP at 604-945-1550 and quote file-number 2022-7446.