Two people were killed and two others were injured in an early morning shooting spree in a suburb of Vancouver, British Columbia, that may have preyed on homeless people, authorities said Monday.
“Four people were shot by what is believed to be a lone gunman,” Ghalib Bhayani, a chief superintendent of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, or RCMP, said of the attacks in Langley.
A suspect was fatally shot in a confrontation with the Mounties and local police along the Langley Bypass, a stretch of highway that curves around downtown, Bhayani said.
The man, considered the only suspect by police, was yet to be identified. The last shooting was reported along the bypass at about 5:45 a.m., RCMP Sgt. David Lee said at the news conference.
The survivors include a woman in critical condition and a man shot in a leg who was recovering, Bhayani said. The attacks happened at different times at four separate locations, including a bus stop, authorities said.
Shots may have also been fired into businesses and other structures in downtown Langley as part of the spree, Bhayani added. No other injuries were reported.
Police tried to back off earlier speculation that the victims may have been targeted because they were homeless. “These people were targeted, but the nature of how they’re related to the shooter” was still being determined, Lee said.
“We cannot say right now that they’re all homeless,” he added.
The suspect was known to police; officials would not offer details beyond that.
Langley Mayor Val van den Broek spoke mournfully at the news conference, suggesting the victims’ lack of housing was core to the day’s narrative.
“Our homeless situation is more so than any other province because we have good weather,” she said. “In my heart, this is something I care very deeply about. Honestly, I’m just heartbroken this morning.”
Van den Broek said she is likely to know one or more of the victims because she volunteers to serve food to people who are homeless.
In the morning, RCMP Sgt. Rebecca Parslow described the victims as homeless people and said authorities believe the attack was targeted, the CBC reported.
After the last shooting, authorities decided to push out a cellphone alert warning residents to stay away from Langley’s core.
Officials closed off a large section of 200th Street, a main route through the center of the city, as the case went from response to investigation.
Police issued another cellphone alert, this one saying that one person “who we believe is responsible for the shootings” was in custody.
Canada’s Integrated Homicide Investigation Team responded to the incidents, the agency confirmed on social media.
CORRECTION (July 25, 2022, 7:15 p.m. ET): A previous version of this article misspelled the last name of a chief superintendent of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. He is Ghalib Bhayani, not Bhayan.
Marlene Lenthang contributed.