Special unit needed to fight Kelowna gang war: RCMP
RCMP are worried that the recent shooting at a car rental office in Kelowna may provoke a wave of gang violence in the Okanagan and have asked the B.C. government for help in setting up a special gang unit.
Const. Steve Holmes of the North Okanagan RCMP said one of the men shot was a known member of a high-profile criminal gang and that has raised concerns about a gang war.
"Police are confirming this incident is gang-related. One of the victims, who was wearing a soft ballistic body armour vest, is a member of the Independent Soldiers and he is a resident of Vernon," said Holmes.
Gang violence is on the rise in the Okanagan area and in an effort to curb the violence, the RCMP have asked the province to help set up a gang unit, Holmes said.
"The big message I want to get out is Kelowna is not a sleepy little town anymore and, because it's attractive to these groups, I believe this town needs to be aware what's going on," he said.
On Monday morning, a gunman walked into the Budget rental office on the main highway through Kelowna and fired at two men inside who were returning a vehicle, hitting one man in the face, the second in the back.
One of the victims, whom police say is a gang member, is still recovering in hospital from surgery. A police manhunt for the shooter has not led to any arrests.