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Three gangs caught up in targeted shooting
Notorious B.C. gangster Jonathan Bacon, 30, was killed in a brazen weekend shooting outside the Delta Grand Hotel, police confirmed during a Monday press conference that offered more questions than answers.
“(Bacon) was one of five persons in a white SUV. Three others suffered non-life threatening injuries and are expected to recover,” said Const. Steve Holmes, of the targeted shooting that happened Sunday afternoon.
“Two are female and one, associated with the vehicle, fled and has yet to be apprehended.”
It’s believed the man who fled the vehicle was a member of the Independent Soldiers, although Holmes refused an opportunity to confirm that fact. Full-patch Hells Angel Larry Amero was seriously injured in the gun fire
Supt. Pat Fogarty of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit said the three men in that white Porsche Cayenne were well known to police, although he didn't say whether Bacon was the intended target, or offer any clues as to why they were together.
Although the public and media often want to categorize criminals into their gang affiliations, said Fogarty, it’s not always that simple.
Gangsters in B.C. are more fluid and their loyalties less certain than they might be elsewhere. That’s why Bacon – known as a high-profile Red Scorpion – would have been associating with a Hells Angel, Fogarty said.
“When you’re sitting in a car with someone, you’re more friend than foe.”
As details of the relationship between the men are further scrutinized Kelowna police, who are being assisted by gang units from other points around the province, are working to put together the evidence chain left behind, although they've yet to reveal details.
Const. Holmes pointed out they don't know whether the burned out SUV found on Commonage Road was the vehicle that the gunman drove away from the shooting.
“We also don’t know the type or description of the firearms used,” he said, adding that no arrests have been made.
Although police are loath to release details, the attack was in broad daylight at a heavily populated tourist destination. Many witnesses have said a balaclava clad man got out of a vehicle behind the Bacon-occupied Porsche Cayenne carrying an automatic weapon, similar to an M-16.
Dozens of shots pierced the side of the truck, which rolled onto a grassy patch outside the hotel, sparking pandemonium.
“From where I was standing it was echoing and loud, very loud,” said a woman who asked not to be named.
“As I started walking again, right behind the lobby exit, about 40 people started running in my direction looking behind them and yelling to ‘run’ and ‘people are shooting.’ People were grabbing their kids and yelling, ‘Go, go keep running.’ “
No others were injured in the shooting, although one stray bullet broke through the Kelowna Art Gallery’s window across the street .
While the violent outburst has prompted numerous questions, Supt. Bill McKinnon said that the incident answers whether funding for a 16-member gang task force in Kelowna should be continued.
“They’re a valuable asset to us, and it’s pretty obvious that we have gang issues here in Kelowna,” he said.
“Our efforts to suppress gang violence remain the top priority. We will not tolerate gang violence, disputes or turf wars within our community.”
That said, he couldn’t speak to whether the task force was aware of the fact that Bacon—a member of the Red Scorpion gang, who was out on bail —was known to be in the area and associating with other gangsters.
This is also the third gang-related crime in Kelowna over the last 12 months. There was a drive-by shooting (associated with the Hells Angels) on Leon Avenue last September, and earlier this summer two full patch Hells Angels were charged with second degree murder in the death of Rutland father Dain Phillips.