British Columbia

Mother speaks out after son's targeted killing at busy Coquitlam park

The mother of a 20-year-old Bailey McKinney, who was gunned down in Town Centre Park in Coquitlam, B.C., this week, is urging young people to think of the consequences of their actions and lifestyle.

Lianne McKinney is warning others to make better choices or end up dead like her 20-year-old son

Bailey McKinney, 20, was shot and killed at Town Centre Park in Coquitlam on April 19, 2021. (Lianne McKinney)

The mother of a 20-year-old who was gunned down in a busy park in Coquitlam, B.C., is urging young people to think of the consequences of their actions on other people's lives.

At least 40 people, including children and their parents, were in Town Centre Park when Bailey McKinney was shot around 6:30 p.m. PT on Monday during a game of pickup basketball.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The shooting is one of three fatal gun incidents in public places across the Lower Mainland in the past week.

Lianne McKinney issued a desperate plea to police to catch whoever killed her son. 

"Find out who did this to Bailey and let them get put away for a while," she said.

WATCH | Lianne McKinney describes how her son was turning his life around before he died:

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Bailey McKinney, 20, was the victim of a targeted shooting. His mom, Lianne McKinney, says he was turning his life around after falling in with the wrong crowd.

Sgt. Frank Jang with the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team said police are looking for anyone with information to come forward.

"We believe this was a case of an individual being targeted for murder and not the park itself," said Jang on the day after the murder.

Just days earlier, Harpreet Singh Dhaliwal, who was known to police and linked to gangs, was shot and killed on Saturday outside Cardero's restaurant on Vancouver's Coal Harbour at sunset.

On Thursday morning, Todd Gouwenberg, who had ties to the UN gang, was shot dead outside the Langley Sportsplex.

There is a growing memorial of flowers, balloons, and messages for Bailey McKinney at Town Centre Park.

"It's very cowardly. He was here unarmed playing basketball. For someone to come gun him down, it's not right," McKinney said.

Not a 'cold-hearted' person

She said her son wasn't a cold-hearted person and described his descent into what she calls the wrong lifestyle about five years ago.

"This kind of started at 15. You don't want to be 15. You want to be a man. You want to have some with power. Guess he found a group of people who made him feel powerful," she said.

McKinney said her son didn't get a chance to live his life and warned other young men going down the same road they are throwing their lives away whether they end up dead or in jail.

She said he had started working with his father in construction recently and had been reconnecting with family before his death.

McKinney said as a mother who lost a child, she has a simple message for others.

"Come on kids, your parents love you. Don't do this to them. It is heartbreaking," McKinney said.

She said she'd sought counselling to better deal with her son's situation, but added it's ultimately up to the young person to make better choices.

B.C.'s court registry indicates Bailey McKinney was to appear in court April 20 on charges related to assault, drug possession for the purposes of trafficking and firearms offences dating to September 2019.

with files from Zahra Premji