A 25-year-old British Columbia man has died in the territory’s seventh homicide this year.
The man was shot in the Porter Creek neighbourhood Sept. 20 and died at Whitehorse General Hospital the next day.
Whitehorse RCMP responded to reports of multiple gunshots around 6:40 p.m. at the intersection of Wann Road and the Alaska Highway. Police directed traffic around the scene via a detour.
“There were two vehicles involved in this incident. Just before 6:40 p.m. the vehicle driven by the victim of the shooting was in close proximity to another vehicle, believed to be a red pickup truck,” RCMP Insp. Keith MacKinnon told reporters Sept. 21.
“Reports made to the police indicated that multiple shots were being fired in the area. A red pickup truck was seen fleeing the scene.”
A second person who was in the vehicle with the victim was not injured, MacKinnon said.
Police aren’t yet releasing many details. MacKinnon couldn’t comment on how many shots were fired. Investigators recovered a gun from the scene, he said, but it’s too early to say whether all the shots came from the same gun.
Police are still looking for the red pickup. It is described as a newer-style Dodge Ram crew cab. RCMP have released a photo of the vehicle.
RCMP detachments outside of Whitehorse were informed of what happened so officers could keep an eye out for the truck, MacKinnon said.
Later in the day police confirmed a vehicle matching that description was towed.
“But we have not confirmed that it is ‘the’ vehicle. We are continuing our investigation. Until such a time when the actual vehicle involved in the incident is confirmed to have been located, we continue to ask for the public’s assistance is identifying potential vehicles of interest,” said spokesperson Coralee Reid.
“No arrests have been made in relation to the homicide.”
This is the territory’s seventh homicide in 2017. That’s compared to four in 2016.
“We understand that this situation, compounded with other violent crimes that have recently occurred in the city, creates some fear and unease in the community,” MacKinnon said.
Police do not believe this shooting was random.
“How the individuals are connected, if at all, and if there are linkages to any other activities, those are all things we’re currently working to determine,” he said.
The murder is being investigated by the division’s major crime unit. Officers have been brought in from other detachments to help.
“We have not requested additional resources from other divisions at this point and will re-assess as needed.”
MacKinnon, who replaced outgoing Insp. Archie Thompson four days ago, said he is in the process of gathering information on all the current homicide investigations “and ensuring all of those investigations are moving forward at the proper stages. I’m very confident in that from what I’ve reviewed thus far.”
Anyone with more information should call Whitehorse RCMP or Crime Stoppers.
Two men on shift at the nearby Goody’s Gas Bar when the shooting happened said they both heard the gunshots and called the police.
“I heard three loud pops,” one employee said. “We thought it was a motorcycle backfiring but then I saw a red truck speeding away. It’s hard to say for sure. It all happened so fast.”
With files from Jesse Winter
Contact Ashley Joannou at firstname.lastname@example.org