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Innocent bystander shot inside tattoo shop
The woman shot Friday night inside the Floating World Tattoo shop on Capstan Way was a customer, The Richmond Review has learned.
Richmond Mounties are continuing to investigate but believe the woman was an innocent bystander.
The owner of the shop, who asked that his name not be printed, initially told The Richmond Review Monday morning that the victim was neither a staff person or a customer, and that the shooting occurred outside the shop at 1458-8388 Capstan Way in north Richmond.
He expressed concerns that news of the shooting would negatively impact his business, and said he was instructed by police investigators not to speak with the media. He noted that another shooting happened late last year in the parking lot outside Manzo, a Japanese restaurant just a half block away.
But sources have told The Richmond Review that the woman was in fact a customer, and that she was shot while she was inside the shop.
The tattoo parlour owner—who could not be reached for a follow-up comment—questioned whether the incident might have been an attempted robbery.
But he noted that most of his customers don't pay in cash, opting to use credit cards instead, as tattoos costs hundreds of dollars.
According to an online search, Sam Nguyen is listed as Floating World Tattoo's proprietor, and the company's website lists "Sam's Gallery" as the first of three artists featuring images of completed tattoo work.
A video surveillance camera is mounted outside the tattoo shop's entranceway, but it was not clear if the camera was functioning, whether it was operating at the time of the shooting, or whether police had requested any footage from it.
Investigators dusted for prints on the door handles to the shop, which has been in operation in Richmond for about four years.
The victim suffered a non-life threatening injury, and as of Monday morning was still in hospital in stable condition.
It was around 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 4 when Richmond RCMP responded to a call of shots fired at Floating World Tattoo Parlor.
But only a single shot was fired, investigators have concluded, and that shot struck the woman.
"It was a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time," Richmond RCMP Sgt. Cam Kowalski said of the shooting on Capstan Way, at the intersection with Sexsmith Rd.
Asked if anybody in the surrounding businesses was ever in danger from the shooting, Kowalski said in cases like this, criminals don't take into account that others could be hurt or killed.
Kowalski said nobody outside the tattoo shop—in a strip mall that had many businesses still open at the time, including Tapioka Express, Richmond Sushi and Furama Bakery—was at risk of being struck.
The suspect or suspects fled the scene prior to police's arrival.
Investigators are still trying to determine if this was a botched robbery, or if something else was behind the shooting.
Witnesses to the incident have been interviewed, and police are following up leads, Kowalski said. But thus far, no suspect descriptions have been released to the public.
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call the Richmond RCMP at 604-278-1212 or CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477, for those who wish to remain anonymous.