An RCMP Emergency Response Team vehicle heads towards the scene of a police incident involving shots fired at a residence in Chilliwack on May 23, 2020. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)

Vancouver double homicide leads to arrest in Harrison Hot Springs Wednesday

VPD and RCMP tracked dumped vehicle connected to killings to Chilliwack

  • Jul. 9, 2020 12:00 a.m.

A double homicide in East Vancouver Tuesday led police across the Lower Mainland to a dumped vehicle in Chilliwack Wednesday followed by an arrest in Harrison Hot Springs.

Joseph Holland, 43 of Vancouver was arrested on Wednesday (July 8) in Harrison Hot Springs by the RCMP’s Lower Mainland Emergency Response Team (ERT) with assistance from Chilliwack and Agassiz RCMP, and the Vancouver Police Department’s (VPD) ERT.

The two Vancouver homicide victims have been identified as 72-year-old Dennis Wragg and 68-year-old Paul Tonks, according to the VPD. The men were found dead inside a home near Commercial Drive and East 11th just after midnight.

After the Tuesday homicides, the VPD identified a light-coloured minivan connected to the killings. On Wednesday, Mounties descended on the Ryder Lake area of Chilliwack and identified three forestry roads in the Chilliwack River Valley to avoid.

Four hours after an initial Tweet was sent out by the Upper Fraser Valley Regional Detachment of the RCMP for residents of Ryder Lake to avoid those roads, the detachment Tweeted the incident had “ended,” that at 7 p.m. on Wednesday report any unusual activity avoid confrontation with strangers.

• READ MORE: Ryder Lake residents asked to stay indoors and keep doors locked

Holland was arrested on Wednesday in a campground in the Village of Harrison Hot Springs, and he remains in custody.

He is charged with two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder with a firearm, and was due in Vancouver Provincial Court at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, July 9.

“We thank everyone in the communities of Ryder Lake and Village of Harrison [Hot Springs] for your patience and cooperation during the police operations,” RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Mike Rail said.

READ MORE: The murder mystery of Ryder Lake

– with files from Canadian Press


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: jfeinberg@theprogress.com


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