RCMP have released more information about a shooting in Vernon on Monday and how it may be connected to the fatal shooting of a man by police at the Departure Bay ferry terminal in Nanaimo.
The shooting in Vernon Monday occurred just before noon in a business parking lot in the 2700 block of 43rd Avenue where Dollar Tree is and across from W.L. Seaton Secondary School.
A man was found shot in a vehicle and at last word was being treated in hospital for life-threatening wounds.
Police have yet to confirm his current condition.
RCMP Sgt. Janelle Shoihet from RCMP Media Relations at E Division headquarters in Surrey now says after preliminary investigations into what appeared to be two separate incidents, RCMP have uncovered a possible link between the shooting and a carjacking in Penticton later in the day Monday.
Sgt. Shoihet says the alleged shooter, described as Caucasian, 5’9, with blonde hair, was seen leaving the area in a 1996 grey, Ford Crown Victoria with a sticker in the lower passenger side rear window. (Seen in picture}
The same vehicle was last seen in West Kelowna at approximately 1:25 p.m.
At 8:35 p.m. on May 7, Penticton RCMP were called to a motel in the 800-block of Westminster Avenue for a report of a man with a gun.
The man was seen in possession of a high-visibility vest and matched the description of the suspect in the Vernon shooting.
‘The man left before police arrived.
A short while later, at 8:46 p.m., Penticton RCMP received a report of a carjacking in the 100-block of Maple Street.
The victim, driving a bluish-grey Pontiac Vibe, reported that a man, matching the description of both previous incidents asked for a ride to the hospital to see a sick family member.
Once inside the car, he assaulted the driver.
The victim was forced from the vehicle in the 900-block of Main Street, Penticton with serious but not life threatening injuries.
The following morning, May 8th, at 8:35, Penticton RCMP were notified that the victim’s stolen vehicle was on a BC ferry nearing the Departure Bay Terminal.
Assistance from Nanaimo RCMP was sought to arrest the driver as the vehicle left the ferry.
When the vehicle was driven off the ferry several police vehicles were used to stop it.
An RCMP news release said based on initial information the driver got out of the vehicle with what officers believed to be a firearm and shots were fired resulting in the man sustaining serious injuries.
Residents living above the scene of the incident report hearing a loud bang followed by six or seven shots.
The suspect died of his injuries.
The Independent Investigations Office of BC and the BC Coroners Service are now handling the investigation.
Ron MacDonald, the chief civilian director of the IIO, couldn’t’ say if there was an exchange of gunfire.
Vernon North Okanagan and Penticton RCMP are now seeking the public’s assistance in locating the 1996 grey, Ford Crown Victoria bearing BC Licence plate DR258M and identifying any witnesses to the incidents.
Investigators are actively working to either confirm or eliminate information in order to conclusively determine if the various incidents are connected, if they are connected to a single individual or if others are involved.
Superintendent Ray Carfantan, Assistant District Officer RCMP Southeast District states, “While we wish to advance these investigations, we must be mindful of the nexus to the ongoing Nanaimo investigation by the Independent Investigation Office of British Columbia (IIO BC). We will continue to support the investigative needs of our units here in the Okanagan to enhance public safety, while respecting that the IIO BC leads the investigation on Vancouver Island.”
No further information is available at this time.