A 35-year-old man is dead after a shooting outside the Port Moody recreation centre Wednesday night.
The Tri-City News has confirmed the victim is Bin Toor, who has ties to the Duhre gang and was known to police. (Gang leader Sandip Duhre was shot dead in Vancouver’s Wall Centre Hotel in January.)
Toor, a member of the Surrey Giants ball hockey team, was getting out of his car to go to a Premier Ball Hockey League game in the rec centre when he was shot several times, according to Const. Lindsay Houghton of the Vancouver Police Department, which is handling the investigation.
A dark-coloured SUV was spotted leaving the scene.
Toor was taken to hospital but died of his injuries shortly after midnight.
Houghton said although it’s early in the investigation they believe the incident was a targeted, gang-related shooting.
“Being a resident of Port Moody myself, I know it’s a busy recreation centre during the day and into the evening,” Houghton said during a VPD press conference Thursday morning. “It’s disturbing to us… and people should find it extremely unacceptable in their community.”
Houghton said the parking lot is a busy place, with families and people of all ages coming and going from the rec centre.
“Any public shooting puts the public at risk and that’s extremely concerning to us,” Houghton added.
There were soccer games taking place behind the recreation centre at the time of the shooting, and many people using the indoor gym and ball hockey facilities, said Port Moody Police Const. Luke van Winkel.
Several people called police just after the shooting and although investigators have spoken to several witnesses, VPD investigators are asking anyone with information to come forward, “especially regarding the events before and after the shooting, where hopefully we can pinpoint the suspect with information beyond the generic dark-coloured SUV,” Houghton said.
Newport Village resident Mitch Williams said he heard at least 10 shots just before 9:30 p.m.
“There were quite a few in a pattern, you could tell it wasn’t just firecrackers,” Williams said. “There was a burst of shots, a little break and then another burst. It was odd.”
It was difficult to tell where the shots were coming from and Williams said his first thought was of the notorious Bacon brothers, one of whom briefly lived in Newport Village about four years ago.
“I got up and ran to the other window because we’ve had some interesting individuals living on the other side,” Williams said. Five minutes later, he heard the police cars arriving, followed closely by an ambulance.
Donna Pickerill, a rec centre employee who lives about a block away off Ioco Road, heard the shots as well. An hour before the shooting, her husband and 11-year-old son had been at the soccer game behind the rec centre and walked home, “so that was a bit scary.”
Pickerill said the fact it was a gang shooting had her less worried than if it was a random act of violence. “But it’s lacrosse seasons so there are lots of young people there, especially at night,” she added.
Rec centre patrons were kept inside the building until about midnight. When they were allowed out, many had to leave on foot. The parking lot at 300 Ioco Rd. was blocked off by yellow police tape for much of Thursday morning, with vehicles still parked in the lot; it was re-opened to traffic later in the day.
A large cluster of evidence markers were seen behind a dark grey sedan parked near the multi-purpose rooms of the rec centre.
Members of the VPD Forensic Unit were expected to be on scene in and around the building throughout Thursday morning and the recreation centre was also expected to remain closed for at least part of the day.
The PMPD has contracted with the VPD for about a year on homicide investigations after switching from the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT).
PMPD Chief Brad Parker said in a release that “Port Moody is still the safest community in the Lower Mainland.”
Mayor Mike Clay said the shooting was targeted and doesn’t reflect on the safety of the rec centre or the city as a whole.
“On a big scale, it bothers me that this happens in public, where innocent bystanders could get hurt, but I don’t think it’s anything specific to the recreation centre,” Clay added. “It could have happened in Surrey or Burnaby or anywhere.”
The shooting is the Tri-Cities’ first murder of 2012. The last one to happen in Port Moody was in 2002.
Since then, there have been three attempted murders (two shootings, one stabbing) and five incidents of shots fired, including the 2005 incident where a woman sitting in her living room was struck by a stray bullet.
Anyone with information or any witnesses who have yet to speak to police are asked to call the homicide unit at 604-717-2500 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.