British Columbia

Drug war triggers gun violence in Prince George, B.C.

RCMP are now blaming a turf war over drugs for a surge in gun violence in Prince George. Over the last week, officers have responded to targeted attacks almost every day.

4 drive-by shootings, 1 arson attack and 2 gunshot victims in a week

Prince George RCMP are investigating a shooting, an arson attack and a drive-by shootings targeting homes, all in the same week. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

Officials are blaming a drug war for a spate of gun violence in Prince George.

Over just 7 days, there have been four drive-by shootings, an arson attack and the shooting of a woman who police later found in a driveway.

Another crime, in which a man on a bicycle shot a stranger with a handgun last week does not appear to be connected to the others, according to RCMP.

Last week, police said there was no evidence that any of the crimes were linked.

But now, RCMP Cpl Craig Douglass says most of the violence comes from "two rival groups involved in the drug trade."

RCMP Cpl. Craig Douglass says Prince George's violence is the result of a conflict over the drug trade. (Andrew Kurjata/CBC )

Most of the shots have been fired in the VLA neighbourhood, where Kitty Mueller has lived for 42 years.

"It's very disturbing how the violence has just skyrocketed," said Mueller. "I talk to single parents living around me. They worry about their kids even just playing in front of their house."

Police say the first drive-by shooting targeted a family home with three kids inside.

Most of the shots in this spate of gun violence have been fired in Prince George's VLA neighborhood, where Kitty Mueller has lived for 42 years. 'The violence has just skyrocketed,' she says. (Betsy Trumpener/CBC )

Mayor Lynn Hall said he's concerned for public safety.

"...with those incidents occurring just within a week ... it's extremely discouraging and very unsettling," Hall said.  

"We haven't seen this kind of thing in Prince George in quite some time," he said. "We worked very hard to get off the Maclean's ranking a number of years ago which was number one for crime in the country." 

Starting in 2011, Maclean's Magazine declared Prince George "Canada's most dangerous city" for three years in a row. The magazine stated that gang wars and drug abuse were partly to blame. 

About the Author

Betsy Trumpener

Reporter-Editor, CBC News

Betsy Trumpener has won numerous national and provincial journalism awards, including a national network award for radio documentary. Based out of Prince George, B.C., Betsy has reported on everything from hip hop in Tanzania to B.C.'s energy industry and the Paralympics.

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