I’m trying really hard to not overreact to Sunday night’s homicide in Burnaby.
But when someone dies in a flurry of gunfire in a public place – in this case, a gas station on a busy Burnaby corner – then it’s hard to be casual about it.
Add to this shooting the fact that Burnaby saw another homicide less than a week ago and another shooting just two weeks ago, and I can’t help but feel alarmed.
Burnaby is B.C.’s third-biggest city, but has never seemed to have the same level of violent, gang-related crime that Surrey and Vancouver have struggled with over the years. Vancouver is already on pace to surpass its 2019 homicide rate.
There were a few shootings in 2019 in Burnaby that smacked of gang violence, but they were sporadic. Two shots fired cases happened in Burnaby in August 2019.
The biggest gang connection between Burnaby and Surrey’s issues were when some vehicles related to homicides south of the Fraser were dumped in our city – the latest incident happening in December 2019.
According to my research, Burnaby didn’t have any homicides in 2019. The last Burnaby homicide was in November 2018. Burnaby resident Nicole Hasselmann, 34, was found badly injured and lying next to a vehicle that had crashed in the 8000-block of Barnet Highway on Nov. 16. A man has been charged with second-degree murder in that case.
So when two homicides happen so close together, with another shooting also taking place, it’s important to take stock of what’s happening.
A18-year-old was shot in the leg on Jan. 5 at Willingdon Avenue and Burke Street at about 10:15 p.m., according to a press release. In that case, police said they found a shot-up Suzuki Swift that had crashed into some bushes. The three men who had been in the vehicle had fled, according to police, but an 18-year-old who had been shot in the leg was found not far away on Willingdon, and the other two occupants were located shortly after.
This also follows the death of 51-year-old Joseph Vincent Morrissey of Vancouver, whose body was found on Jan. 13 in the 6700-block of 4th Street in Burnaby by Robert Burnaby Park.
It’s vital, of course, that if you know anything about these cases, then you should contact the authorities. We need to stomp out this violence.
Anyone with information is asked to contact IHIT by phone at 1-877-551-IHIT (4448) or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.