The gang conflict that has seen increasingly brazen shootings and murders across the Lower Mainland has now decisively spilled outside of the region’s borders.
As B.C. RCMP were called to yet another deadly shooting Saturday, this time in Coquitlam, police in Calgary were also investigating a targeted fatal shooting of their own.
That killing followed a formula now well established in the Lower Mainland: a brazen daytime shooting, a victim left dead in a parked vehicle and a torched vehicle located some distance away shortly afterward.
Sources have confirmed the victim of the Calgary homicide, Gurkeert Kalkat, is the brother of Jaskeert Kalkat, the 23-year-old police say was linked to gang activity who was slain in the parking lot of a Burnaby Cactus Club on May 13.
Court records show Gurkeert Kalkat was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison and a 10-year firearms prohibition for drug trafficking in Calgary.
“There’s no borders. When these guys look for somebody, they look for them,” Doug Spencer, a retired Vancouver police officer who now runs production company Odd Squad, told Global News.
“If they are in Alberta, they’re back east, there has been a number of murders over the years with gangs murdered when they try to flee to Toronto or whatever, even as far as Mexico. Guys try to hide out there and they get killed.”
Spencer said he wasn’t surprised to see the involvement of brothers, noting family ties have been a repeated theme in the history of B.C.’s gang conflicts.
Gary Kang, 24, was gunned down in his family’s South Surrey home in January — one of the early killings in the current wave of gang violence.
“Every little brother looks up to their big brother and they want to be like them,” Spencer said. “Historically, lots of times brothers, they all get involved in it. Brothers, cousins, it doesn’t matter.”
Kal Dosanjh, a B.C. police officer and founder of youth anti-gang organization KidsPlay Foundation, said as each group retaliates, it increases the risk that an innocent victim will get hurt.
“It’s reflective of the cartel-type violence you’d see in Central and South America, namely to the fact it’s so brazen and bold out in public, they’re also trying [to] send a message saying it doesn’t matter where you go or where you are, we’re going to find you and take you out,” he said.
Dosanjh said if police can take down the leaders of some of the groups involved. it should cool the violence, at least temporarily.
But with the region’s drug issues showing no signs of abating, organized crime isn’t going anywhere, he said.
“It comes in cycles and there’s peaks and valleys to this type of violence. Just because it dies down for a little while doesn’t mean it’s going to disappear altogether,” he said.
“We need to anticipate because of the lucrative nature of the drug trade, these things are always going to happen.”
Police in Nanaimo are asking anyone who saw a pearl-white 2003 Cadillac Escalade or its occupants in the days leading up to Thursday’s killing to contact them.
Anyone with information on the Coquitlam shooting is asked to contact Coquitlam RCMP or the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team.
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