B.C.’s top cop called the mass shooting in Langley Monday a “despicable act” but said British Columbians should still feel safe in the wake of several recent murders and gang shootings.
“This last month has been unsettling for British Columbians,” said Mike Farnworth, Solicitor General and Minister of Public Safety.
Between midnight and 5:45 a.m. on Monday, a man shot four people, killing two of them, around downtown Langley City and Township. The suspect was killed by police near 200th Street and the Langley Bypass, shortly after the last of the four attacks.
“This senseless act of violence is very disturbing, and completely unacceptable,” Farnworth said.
He said that while the motive behind the attacks remains unknown right now, police are investigating and it will be made public if discovered.
He thanked RCMP and other emergency responders who were active in Langley on Monday.
Farnworth said police and RCMP put themselves in the way of danger to make B.C. safe to live, work, and play in.
This was in the wake of a string of violent crimes, including a domestic double homicide in Chilliwack last week, a gang-linked double murder in Whistler, and the escape from prison of a man currently on trial for murder.
The Langley shootings resulted in only the second-ever use of the cellphone-based emergency alert system, sending loud noises and text warnings to thousands of British Columbians.
Farnworth was asked if the alerts were targeted enough, and why they went out just after the suspected shooter had been killed.
“The police were dealing with a very fluid and dynamic situation,” Farnworth said.
Early alerts noted that police were not certain there was only one shooter, and made decisions based on the information they had. He added they learned from previous incidents in Vanderhoof, and in Nova Scotia.
Reviews are always undertaken after such incidents, including of how the emergency alert system was used, Farnworth said.
The possibility that the attack targeted the homeless is something investigators will be looking at, Farnworth said.
Asked why information about whether the shooter used legal or illegal firearms has not been released, even though he is dead and believed to have acted alone, Farnworth said he expected police would make it public later.
“I expect in due course that information will come out,” Farnworth said.
Earlier, Premier John Horgan and Farnworth issued a joint statement about the shootings.
“Our thoughts are with the victims of the horrific shootings in Langley and the Township of Langley today, as well as their friends, family and loved ones. This senseless act of violence against members of our community is extremely concerning and unacceptable.
“While we don’t yet know the motive behind this incident, we understand people are concerned and fearful when events like these happen in our communities. With today’s tragic events, we reaffirm our government’s commitment to tackling gun violence in all communities throughout B.C.
“This remains an active police investigation, and we ask that the public co-operate with and assist them in this work.”
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