British Columbia

Suspect in Chilliwack double homicide found dead, police say

Chilliwack RCMP say the man suspected of shooting and killing two women and injuring another man last Thursday has been found dead.

Eric Shestalo had been at large since Thursday; women shot dead identified as Amber Culley, 43, Mimi Kates, 49

RCMP Asst. Comm. Dwayne McDonald is pictured during a press conference on May 10, 2021. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Investigators say the man who was the subject of a public warning and police manhunt in the Chilliwack, B.C., area after a fatal shooting last Thursday has been found dead.

The body of Eric John Shestalo was found Monday near Bridal Falls, east of the Fraser Valley city. Preliminary findings indicate he died by suicide, police said.

"An autopsy is pending and the investigation is continuing," read a statement from the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) on Tuesday.

Police launched an extensive search for Shestalo, 50, after a shooting in Chilliwack on Thursday that left two women dead and one man injured. 

On Saturday, police said they had located Shestalo's red and yellow Jeep YJ at Bridal Falls. Prior to the discovery, police had warned the public to exercise caution if they spotted Shestalo, to call 911 and not approach him.

Victims identified

RCMP said Shestalo and the victims knew each other, but did not specify how.

The dead women have been identified as Amber Culley, 43, and Mimi Kates, 49.

Culley's family issued a statement through IHIT on Tuesday.

"She was the most loving, generous, compassionate and brave human being we have ever known," it read. 

"We will miss her madly but we will never let a murderer put out her bright light or destroy our little boys' lives. Her children were her world."

The statement did not say how many children Culley had.

Amber Culley, 43, was one of two women shot dead in Chilliwack, B.C., on July 21, 2022.
Amber Culley, 43, was one of two women shot dead in Chilliwack, B.C., on July 21. (Supplied by the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team)

Reassuring the public

With several shootings across southwest B.C. in recent weeks, McDonald said he wanted to reassure British Columbians that police are there to protect them. He also thanked members of the public who came forward with information that helped advance different police investigations.

"As a father and as a spouse, I have the same questions that you do," he said at a news conference Monday.

"'Am I safe? What are the police doing? And can I trust them?'

"I want to assure you that the RCMP ... are committed not only to keeping you safe but in apprehending those responsible for these crimes."

McDonald said the recent incidents are a "stark reminder" of the danger police officers face.

"Whether it's engaging and stopping a vehicle with suspects fleeing a violent and targeted homicide, responding to an active shooter event and stopping that threat, or searching for an armed homicide suspect in a remote wooded area, our police officers are here for you," he said.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Josh Grant is a CBC News reporter based in Vancouver, British Columbia. He previously worked for CBC in Montreal and Quebec City and for the Nation magazine serving the Cree communities of Northern Quebec. You can reach him at josh.grant@cbc.ca.

With files from Mike Zimmer

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