It’s been one year since a shooting spree shook the community of Penticton, and one year later the trial for the man charged remains ongoing.
‘Community reeling after shooting spree’ reads the front cover headline of the Penticton Western News on Wednesday, April 17, 2019.
At the time, RCMP called it a ‘dark day’.
John Brittain, a former engineer with the City of Penticton, is charged with three counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder in connection with the shootings that left Darlene Knippelberg, Susan and Barry Wonch and Rudi Winter dead.
It was previously reported that Brittain, 68 at the time of the shootings, knew the victims, who were all in their 60s and 70s.
The initial call of shots fired was reported to police around 10:30 that morning. The front page of the April 17 Penticton Western News reads:
A man working at a nearby business said he heard several loud noises then went outside to see what was happening and saw the alleged shooter walking up the street with a long gun in his hands.
Following this, RCMP said they believed the shooter then drove to Cornwall Avenue where he shot three more people and two different residences.
Police arrested Brittain at 11:27 a.m. when he arrived at the detachment in his vehicle and turned himself in.
RCMP had explained that they were glad Brittain did this.
“This devastating and catastrophic news has shaken everyone who calls Penticton home or who regularly visits our beautiful community,” wrote mayor John Vassilaki at the time.
“Yesterday (April 15, 2019) marked an unfortunate chapter in our community’s history, but it also demonstrated our commitment to each other through acts of assistance and compassion in the aftermath of tragedy,” he said.
On March 17 a candlelight vigil was held to honour the victims.
Then on April 20 of this year, Brittain was scheduled to appear in Penticton Supreme Court on fix a date for trial.
However, Supreme Court is among the many things put on hold due to COVID-19. In March the Supreme Court of Canada issued a statement saying cases previously scheduled for hearing in March, April and May are adjourned, tentatively, to June 2020.
On April 2, the Honourable Chief Justice Hinkson suspended regular operations of the Supreme Court of British Columbia at all of its locations to protect the health and safety of court users and to help contain the spread of COVID-19.
It is possible Brittain’s appearance will also be put on hold, however, more information will be known closer to the scheduled date.
In March the Western News reported that the trial for the accused Penticton shooter was anticipated to take four weeks.
Breaking coverage from the day of the shooting can be found here.