July 27, 2016 - 6:30 PM
VERNON - Vernon’s mayor confirms council has met with the RCMP to discuss a recent rash of shooting incidents in the city, but says he is not overly concerned about the escalation in violence.
“Of course any time there’s a shooting it’s always a concern, but I know we’ve had a meeting with the RCMP and they are on top of it,” Mayor Akbal Mund says.
Since mid-April, there have been five shooting incidents in Vernon. Most have not resulted in injuries, but a boy suffered a non-life threatening gunshot wound during one of the incidents in May.
“The police are doing their job. I’m very confident they have their eye on the activity going on,” Mund says. “I don’t think the community needs to be overly fearful.”
Police have previously said three of the incidents are connected to the street level drug trade. As for the two latest shootings, police say there is no clear link between them and the other cases.
"The Vernon North Okanagan Regional RCMP are concerned with the increased number of incidents involving firearms," RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Dan Moskaluk says. "We are continuing to investigate each incident, and that includes determining whether there are links to any of the other shootings or other recent acts of violence."
Moskaluk says police will continue to use all available resources to target the people involved in the violence.
"We are also confident that the public will continue to assist us by contributing any possible information and will continue to report suspected or witnessed criminal activity including incidents involving violence and firearms," Moskaluk says.
TIMELINE OF INCIDENTS
The first shooting was April 14 on Pottery Road near an elementary school and involved bullets hitting a home with three children and two adults inside.
A week later, on April 21, police responded to a reported shooting in the 3400-block of Okanagan Avenue.
On May 8, police reported a third shooting on 33 Street in which a boy suffered a non-life threatening gunshot wound.
On June 26, shots were fired at a home on Scott Road, where an adult and a child were inside. Later, a licensed grow-op believed to be operating for the purposes of trafficking was raided on the same property.
The most recent incident was July 23 when police were called to Palfrey Drive West in Coldstream after people in the area reported hearing gunshots. Police confirmed they found physical evidence related to the shooting at a residence in the area.
After the first three shootings, the province’s gang unit was called in to assist Vernon RCMP with the escalation in violence.
Charges have not been laid in any of the specific cases, although a 16-year-old boy described as being involved in the recent violence is facing a single count of possession of a restricted firearm.
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