British Columbia

'A very dark day for Penticton': Man, 68, in custody after 4 slain in 'targeted' shootings

Penticton RCMP say four people are dead after a string of shootings in three locations Monday morning.

Victims are 2 women, 2 men, all known to each other, charges are pending

One person was killed in the area around Heales Avenue and Lakeview Street in Penticton, B.C. on Monday. Three others were shot and killed on Cornwall Drive, less than five kilometres away, before a shooting spree in the city came to an end. (Dominika Lirette/CBC)

Penticton, B.C., RCMP say four people are dead after a string of fatal shootings in three locations Monday morning.

South Okanagan-Similkameen Supt. Ted De Jager says a 68-year-old man who is a resident of Penticton has been taken into custody after he turned himself in at the front desk of the Penticton RCMP detachment.

Police have confirmed they believe that all the people involved were known to each other and that "it was a targeted event."

De Jager said in a press conference on Monday afternoon that the victims are two adult males and two adult females. He said charges are pending. 

At around 10:30 a.m. PT, police were called to downtown Penticton, in the area of Westminster Avenue and Haynes Street, for a report that a man had been shot.

Three people were killed on Cornwall Avenue during the shooting spree. RCMP's Penticton South Okanagan-Similkameen regional general investigation section has taken the lead on the investigation. (Dominika Lirette/CBC)

As officers were en route, they received a second call reporting that another person had been shot. A man matching the description of the suspect turned himself in about one hour later, at 11:30 a.m. Police also seized a vehicle believed to be the suspect's, which was parked in the police parking lot.

Officers conducted a sweep of the area and found there were several victims at multiple locations. The four fatalities occurred in three locations within a five-kilometre radius.

RCMP had previously asked everyone to avoid downtown Penticton and remain indoors, but have since lifted those restrictions. (Simon Charland/CBC)

One person died at the initial incident near Westminster Avenue and Lakeview Street, while three people died "in a suburban area" around Cornwall Drive.

"I understand this is a deeply troubling incident that has taken place in our community," said De Jager.

"Police are continuing to look for anyone else who may have been injured in the course of this incident."

He says police are working to identify the victims and inform their families.

No ongoing danger to public

On Monday afternoon the Southeast District emergency response team was deployed near Skaha Lake Road and Yorkton Avenue for an unfolding incident.

Police determined it was not linked to the morning shootings, and have resolved the incident. 

RCMP had previously asked everyone to avoid downtown Penticton and remain indoors, but have since lifted those restrictions.

The crime scene is now limited to the 2400 block of Cornwall Drive and the 400 block of Heales Avenue near Lakeview Street.

In the press conference, De Jager said there is no longer any danger to the community. 

"We want to reassure the public that we're there for them at this time. Although this is a very dark day for Penticton, the brightness in the community is how everybody stepped up," he said.

'4 or 5' pops heard: witness

Shelly Halvorson was in her office at J & E Automotive Services when she heard "four or five" pops.

"I thought it was our tire machine," said Halvorson. "I didn't think anything more of it."

This is a little too close. I've never experienced this. I'm not comfortable at all.- Shelly Halvorson , witness

Within minutes, she said, police vehicles swarmed the area.

She says she went outside and saw a man lying on his front lawn, at which point, police told everyone to go back inside their homes and businesses.

"This is a little too close. I've never experienced this," she said. "I'm not comfortable at all."

The RCMP's Penticton South Okanagan Similkameen regional general Investigation section has taken the lead on the investigation. Additional resources from the RCMP's Southeast District, including Investigators from the Southeast District Major Crime Unit, have been called in to assist.

Penticton is a city in the Okanagan Valley of the Southern Interior of British Columbia with a population of about 30,000.

Corrections

  • Citing information from the RCMP, a previous version of this story stated that the suspect was 60 years old. In fact, Mounties later said, he is 68.
    Apr 16, 2019 12:16 PM PT

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.