Police in the Canadian province of British Columbia say that “several” individuals were shot in an early morning attack in the town of Langley, with the suspect appearing to target the homeless population in the town, which is located not far from the U.S.-Canadian border.
About an hour after an initial alert was sent out by law enforcement, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police released a second alert stating that the suspect “is no longer a threat,” though at this point authorities haven’t said if he was taken into custody or was shot by officers. According to one eyewitness, however, it appears that the suspect may have been arrested.
Jess Lee was heading to work on the Langley Bypass when her car was blockaded by a large police presence on 200th Street.
At first she assumed it was a car accident. But after seeing police charging the area with rifles in hand, she knew another event was unfolding.
“There were at least 15 police cars gathered in one area,” she told Postmedia. “One for sure was kneeling on someone, holding them down.”
Although the second alert said police are still trying to determine whether more than one suspect was involved in the shootings, Langley RCMP said investigators believe the lone suspect is now in custody.
A white car riddled with bullet holes could be seen in a strip mall parking lot near 200 Street and the Langley Bypass. A truck with a smashed-out window is also in the lot, along with a forensics tent.
Nearby, a pair of shoes and a backpack could be seen strewn across the sidewalk along 200 Street.
Another forensics tent could be seen at the Langley bus loop located at Logan Avenue and Glover Road.
A third area outside Cascades Casino near Fraser Highway and 204 Street has also been cordoned off. Behind the police tape, a shopping cart containing what appears to be personal belongings stood underneath a tree.
Police said the case remains an active investigation and asked the public to avoid: 200 Street and Langley Bypass; the Langley bus loop; and the parking lot of Cascades Casino located at Fraser Highway and 204 Street.
The CBC is reporting that at least one of the victims in this morning’s attack has died, but the total number of victims and the extent of their injuries have not yet been released by authorities.
Canada’s gun laws, already far more draconian than U.S. federal law, have become even more restrictive in recent months after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced sweeping new restrictions, including a freeze on handgun sales to go along with the ban and compensated confiscation of most modern sporting rifles. As the New York Times reported back in early June, however, Canadian gun laws have long prohibited most individuals from carrying a firearm outside of their home, legal gun owner or not.
At least one aspect of gun laws is not changing: the rules that basically limit handgun use to target practice at an approved firing range. At home, handgun owners must continue to keep their weapons locked up.
And it’s still illegal to use a handgun against another person in any circumstance. The farmer who shot and killed Colten Boushie, a 22-year-old Cree man from Saskatchewan, was acquitted of murder and manslaughter in 2018, but was still fined 3,900 Canadian dollars and placed under a 10-year ban on gun ownership for improper firearm storage.
Today’s news is another grim reminder that, no matter how restrictive gun control laws might be, those committed to carrying out their cowardly attacks on unarmed innocents can and will find a way to do so. There is still a lot to learn about the suspect and the victims in the targeted attack in Langley, British Columbia, but we already know that the tight regulations around legal gun ownership in Canada failed to prevent the multiple shootings of some of the most vulnerable citizens in the community.