UPDATE: Man charged in Richmond shooting at union birthday party

Four men were shot Wednesday night when a lone gunman opened fire at a function held by members of the International Longshore & Warehouse Union at the Riverside Banquet Hall.

Union president Mark Gordienko said the private function was jointly organized by union members and non-members, partly as a birthday party, and partly to celebrate 10 newly-annointed members of the union from a Vancouver union meeting that ended around the same time as the shooting.

Neither Gordienko nor any of his union executive were at the function, as they were still wrapping up their meeting.

He said one of the victims wasn’t a union member, but three others were casual workers who worked out the union’s dispatch hall.

Gordienko was informed about the shooting Wednesday night, and said he reacted with a “sick feeling in my stomach.”

He added: “I am shocked and saddened by this incident that has affected some of our members. On behalf of the union, I want to express our best wishes to the families involved, and to everyone who witnessed this terrible event.”

RCMP Sgt. Peter Thiessen said all four victims were listed in stable condition on Thursday and noted that the suspect, who remains in custody, was arrested within five minutes of the incident. Charged with three counts of attempted murder and one charge of aggravated assault is Sukhdeep Singh Sandhu, 26. He is to make his first court appearance this morning.

Richmond RCMP Insp. Bryon Massie said at the scene Wednesday night that police were called to a report of shots fired around 9 p.m. at the hall, at 14500 River Rd., about a half kilometre east of No. 6 Road, at River Road.

Investigators believe the shooting was targetted, and on Thursday, confirmed they have one suspect in custody.

It was chaos inside the hall when the shots rang out, with four people hurt, at least one with what was initially described as life-threatening injuries.

The men suffered gunshot wounds and were taken to area hospitals, where protocols were enacted to ensure they are safe, as well as others in the hospital.

It’s believed about 150 people attended the event.

A transit bus was used to shuttle the large number of witnesses to the Richmond detachment to be interviewed.

“There is no information to suggest...this is related to events that have occurred in the Lower Mainland over the last week,” Massie said, in reference to four other fatal shootings that police have said involved criminal activity.

This isn’t the first time the banquet hall has been the scene of violence.

Gangster Kelly Buttar was shot and killed at the banquet hall during a wedding reception more than a decade ago.

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