2009 another year of B.C. gang violence

The year 2009 might be remembered among Metro Vancouver police forces as one in which violent conflict among drug gangs continued to take a deadly toll.
Nicole Alemy was shot while driving her husband's Cadillac through a Surrey intersection. ((Facebook))
The year 2009 might be remembered among Metro Vancouver police forces as one in which the violent conflict among drug gangs continued to take a deadly toll.

In the first two months of the year, police responded to reports of more than 30 shootings.

"Lets not kid ourselves, there's a gang war and it's brutal," said Vancouver police Chief Jim Chu in March.

Across the Lower Mainland, the body count climbed as people were shot in homes, in their cars and in busy shopping centres.

Young mother shot and killed

The situation seemed to hit a new low when Nikki Alemy — a 23-year-old mother of two — was shot to death while driving along a Surrey street as her four-year-old son sat in the back seat. The child was not physically harmed.

Alemy was married to a reported gang member.

There have been no charges in her slaying.

Despite the apparent level of violence, the number of homicides dropped in Metro Vancouver in 2009, with 56 slayings compared with 58 in 2008.

The city of Vancouver recorded 18 homicides for the year, the same number as in the previous 12 months.

Rate dropped later in year

Almost half of the killings in the city occurred in the first three months.

"We were able to make some key arrests in Vancouver and drive down that violence, and suppress it somewhat," Const. Jana McGuinness said at a media briefing Thursday. "So the second half of the year looked quite different than the first half of the year."

Not all homicides were gang-related.

Wendy Ladner-Beaudry was killed in April while jogging in Pacific Spirit Park. ((CBC))

The apparently random killing of Wendy Ladner-Beaudry shocked the community and left women worried about their safety.

The wife and mother, a resident of an upscale neighbourhood, was killed while jogging in the middle of the day.  

There have been no arrests in her case.

"I do know the investigators have an extensive list of persons of interest and they're working through those," said Cpl. Dale Carr of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team. "That, I can tell you, will take a great deal of time."

Police say there have been arrests in almost 90 per cent of domestic homicide cases this year and about 25 per cent of gang-related cases.