Men at centre of Kamloops gang war on opposing sides | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Men at centre of Kamloops gang war on opposing sides

Kamloops RCMP are warning the public to stay clear of Cameron Ronald Cole (left) and Justin Christopher Hunt (right).
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Kamloops RCMP

Two men police named as likely targets in future violent attacks are in opposing Kamloops gangs.

Four shootings the public have been told of in the past week have been part of a gang war brewing for at least the past two months in Kamloops. The first public display of that violence began with targeted arsons, starting with one on Brunner Avenue.

After the violence escalated to a series of shootings, the most recent injuring one man at a local hotel, Kamloops RCMP issued a warning to stay clear of two men and any of their associates.

Cameron Ronald Cole, 40, and Justin Christopher Hunt, 25, are on opposing sides of the warring groups. Police say they will likely be targets of future violence.

Supt. Jeff Pelley of Kamloops RCMP also said they have each been warned.

READ MORE: Police issue public warning about escalating gang violence in Kamloops

"The two men who appear to be at the centre of the conflict have been warned about the risks to themselves but the recent events also led us to be fearful for the safety of the public who may live or be near these men or their associates," Supt. Pelley said.

The city's top cop didn't say where they could be expected to be in the Kamloops area.

"While we respect the privacy of our citizens, these events have become increasingly public in nature and the public interest in this case outweighs their right to privacy," Pelley told reporters today, May 9. He said the detachment got "required approval" to release their names through the Privacy Act.

Not only has the violence become more public, but it's also endangered at least one person or household not involved in the gang war. Pelley said at least one arson on the 200 block of Spruce Avenue targeted the wrong people. There have been three arsons on that block since March, including two on back decks and one van.

Pelley didn't say which fire unfairly targeted someone, but it was in that month that the violence between two groups became clearly visible.

READ MORE: Two charged in Kamloops drug trafficking investigation

"We believe that in early March, Kamloops began to experience the effects of an ongoing conflict between local drug traffickers," the superintendent said.

He refused to say which gangs the two men are involved with. He did not answer when asked when the violence between the two gangs might have begun beyond referencing March arsons. By that time, the conflict was already "ongoing."

Just ahead of the shootings, but after the arsons, Cole was charged related to a long-term drug trafficking investigation. He and 44-year-old Shane Bradley Cameron are facing a combined 17 charges a year after a related seizure at a Kamloops home. 

Pelley also wouldn't say whether the search and subsequent arson at 1315 Tranquille Road was related, along with the murder of 47-year-old Kelvin Jobson, whose body was found in a creek outside Kelowna last month.

The provincial gang squad — the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit — also has officers in Kamloops as police try to both temper the violence and continue the ongoing investigations.

"To the drug traffickers, let me be clear, the violence and the sale and distribution of illegal drugs will be met with consequences," Supt. Pelley said. "There's no place for drug trafficking, violence and disregard for human life in our city."

To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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