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Two drive-by shootings linked, say Richmond RCMP

This house and minivan were damaged during a Monday night drive-by shooting on Williams Road that didn
This house and minivan were damaged during a Monday night drive-by shooting on Williams Road that didn't result in any injuries, but left residents of the family neighbourhood frightened.
— image credit: Martin van den Hemel photos

A drive-by shooting on Williams Road late Monday night didn’t result in any injuries, but the aftermath puzzled area residents.

It was around 10:30 p.m. when one resident spotted what might have been a firearm extending from a minivan that unloaded as many as two dozen shots at two newer houses on the 3600 block of Williams Road, a half-block west of No. 1 Road.

Two rounds struck a ground-floor window, one left a pinky-sized hole in a young family’s minivan, and several more struck the lighting enclosures in the signature brick fences common among newer homes.

Most residents initially dismissed the sounds as just fireworks, but one wound up calling 911.

The man’s son saw flashes coming from the minivan, and pulled his dad down for cover when he tried to take a closer look.

The man, who asked to remain anonymous, said he was amazed at the police response, as they appeared at the scene within seconds even when he was still on the 911 call. With its lights flashing and siren blaring, the responding cruiser made a U-turn, in the same direction as the suspect minivan was last seen heading.

“It’s crazy, right,” the man said. “I thought it was fireworks.”

But it wasn’t until some 14 hours later that Richmond Mounties returned to the scene on Williams, and cordoned off the area with yellow tape where bullet casings littered the sidewalk and road.

Richmond RCMP Cpl. Stephanie Ashton said the initial 911 call was dismissed as just fireworks and that’s why police didn’t return right away.

Even the 911 caller, who spoke to the Review Wednesday afternoon, said he brushed it off as fireworks when nobody came outside that night.

A second shooting an hour later on Bamfield Drive, near Shell Road north of Cambie, then occupied the police’s time, an incident that investigators now believe is connected to the Williams Road incident.

“It is our belief the shootings were targeted. This was not a random act,” said Ashton.

Anyone with information about either shooting is asked to call Richmond RCMP at 604-278-1212, or CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477, or e-mail them at Richmond_Tips@rcmp-grc.gc.ca.

A teenager living in one of the homes on Williams Road spoke nervously about the incident, and said it was more than a couple of shots that struck his home. But he declined to comment further, asking for privacy.

The second home, which had two lights shot out, and had at least six shots fired its way, was occupied by a woman and her dog.

They were watching TV at the time, and didn’t hear anything but the familiar sound of children playing in the area.

“It’s always very quiet here,” she said, adding that she wasn’t even aware there had been a shooting.

But when the woman, who has lived in the home for the past 11 years, was shown the damage out front, she exclaimed: “Oh my God. I did not hear anything.”

In the shooting across town on Bamfield Drive, a woman was asleep in her bedroom when she awoke to the sound of gunfire some time between 11 and 11:30 p.m.

The woman’s boyfriend, who answered the door Wednesday, said she was understandably shaken up considering the close call.

“I don’t feel safe here anymore,” he said.

One shot sliced through two of her bedroom walls and the hallway wall before becoming lodged in a fourth wall.

A neighbour who called 911 said he heard a metallic scraping sound before the automatic gunfire, some eight to 10 shots in rapid succession.

Judging from what looked like cube-shaped broken windshield glass left on the road and lawn, the shooters may have repeatedly struck a vehicle parked in front of the home.

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