RCMP name victims in suspicious deaths
Williams Lake RCMP have identified the two men killed in a residence in Williams Lake Tuesday evening.
Jonathan Sellars, 30, and Devon Stewart, 26, were found dead in a home located at 1172 Mackenzie Ave. after police were called to the residence shortly after 8:30 p.m.
RCMP have remained on scene at the location to investigate the suspicious deaths and ask that if anyone has information about it, to contact the Williams Lake RCMP at 250 392-6211 or Crime Stoppers at 1 800 222-8477.
It was with a heavy sigh Thursday afternoon that Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb began to share his views of the latest violence.
“It’s totally disappointing for our little community,” said Cobb.
Last June the province earmarked $500,000 for Williams Lake and the Cariboo-Chilcotin to target crime and violence with a new integrated community safety initiative.
Cobb said the initiative is meant to better address the roots of the problems plaguing the region, and so far six officers have been hired specifically to address the crime.
“I am very thankful to the RCMP for all their efforts. This hiring will assist the detachment. They were way overworked trying to deal with the day-to-day as well as the gang issue. Hopefully this new team will get to the bottom of all this.”
Police closed off a section of Mackenzie Avenue to all traffic, including local businesses, until Wednesday mid morning but kept the home and yard secured into Thursday afternoon.
Rose-Marie Jack, who lives just down the street with her elementary-aged children, said she did not hear any shots fired Tuesday evening, however, did see the police cars go by, noting that police presence in the area is common place and the neighbourhood is troubled.
She didn’t know that one of the victims was her relation until a neighbour told her Wednesday morning.
“He’s just a young man,” she said. “He has a family. He is loved.”
Jack drummed and sang a traditional prayer song for the victims just beyond the police barricade at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday as local trucking owner Bruce Forseille arrived to try to get to his business.
“It’s not even surprising to me to see the barricades up when I come to work anymore,” said Forseille, noting there is a 20-bay commercial truck shop across the street.
“(This residence) has been the repeat offender place for a few years now.”
Pressure has been mounting in recent years for lakecity police and politicians to do something about the violent crime in Williams Lake.
Including this week’s deaths of Sellars and Stewart, there have been seven suspicious deaths and at least one other incident of serious injuries sustained involving firearms since 2014.
Cobb implores any witnesses who know anything to come forward to police.
“It isn’t going to get any better if we turn a blind eye,” Cobb said.
“We can’t have these people out walking our streets. They have to be held accountable.”