Deadly shooting result of gang grudges: police

The slaying of a Calgary gang member in an ongoing feud between two gangs has prompted police to reopen some old homicide cases.

The slaying of a Calgary gang member in an ongoing feud between two gangs has prompted police to reopen some old homicide cases.

Roger Chin, 23, was found dead Saturday night in his bullet-riddled SUV, which had crashed into a tree along the 5400 block of Centre Street North.

"We've had numerous gang homicides over the years. It involved several people from several different groups. We cannot contribute all of these to Mr. Chin … but we are reviewing old files to see if he may have been involved in any of those," said acting Staff Sgt. Rick Tuza on Tuesday.

Police said Chin had been targeted before. In February, he and another man were shot several times outside a northeast gas station.

The head of the Calgary police organized crime section alleged the shootings were the result of personal grudges between two groups.

"They originated as one group and a number of years ago they had a split. And some grudges became, well, lethal grudges as the groups targeted each other and some people were killed on either side of this dispute," Insp. Shaun Gissing said on CBC Radio's Calgary Eyeopener on Tuesday.

"And every time somebody is seriously hurt or killed in this ongoing dispute, it's like adding another log to the fire. The fire just burns stronger and the hatred gets worse."

The gangs are involved in the drug trade, particularly in dealing crack cocaine, Gissing alleged, but he believes the current dispute is based on personal vendettas that date back years.

Force has policy of not naming gangs

The police force has been trying to be proactive in preventing people from joining gangs and there's a helpline for those who want to leave a gang lifestyle.

"But nothing can stop hatred, basically. If two people are going to kill each other, they're going to do it," Gissing said.

The force has a policy of not naming gangs because police don't want to advertise their names, Gissing said.

"I would hate to trot out the name of a known gang and have somebody, a young person, for example, pick up on that name and use it because they thought it was a cool thing to banter around, and end up a victim of violence themselves," he explained.

The inspector said people should not be swayed by the stereotype of a gang as a group of young people spray-painting graffiti, calling the groups in Calgary "low-level organized crime."

"They're driving expensive cars. They have cash. They have access to weapons," he said. "So yeah, they're not kids by any stretch of the imagination."