COQUITLAM, BC –
One of two men gunned down Wednesday night in Coquitlam, BC, is a 25-year-old who police say has links to the Lower Mainland gang conflict.
The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team has identified the deceased as Ramin Salam, a Coquitlam resident allegedly associated with gang members. Another victim who survived also appears to have gang ties.
“We truly believe that was the reason for this shooting,” said Sgt. Timothy Pierotti told reporters at a news conference.
Authorities are still trying to identify the second man killed, and were unable to talk to his background.
Pierotti said Salam’s name was shared in the hope that someone with information about the double homicide would come forward and help IHIT’s investigation.
The incident followed a string of alarming incidents in the Lower Mainland that police responded to over the past week, including a violent armed robbery that sparked a shouting match with police in Port Coquitlam on Tuesday and a series of shootings in Merritt.
Pierotti said it is unclear whether there has been an escalation in gang activity in the region.
“It’s definitely ebb and flow,” he added. “In terms of whether the weather is warming, I can’t say for sure.”
The shooting took place on Dawes Hill Road near Mundy Street at around 7.30pm on Wednesday – near a primary school.
Officers responded to reports of shots fired and found two men with gunshot wounds unresponsive in a vehicle.
A witness filmed what happened next with a mobile phone. It shows first responders resuscitating one of the victims as the person lay lifeless next to a vehicle in the road.
“One victim was pronounced dead at the scene, while another was transported to hospital and later succumbed to their injuries,” says Cpl. Alexa Hodgins said in a press release hours after the incident.
A neighbor, who CTV News does not identify for security reasons, said she heard the shots.
“I heard some of what sounded like fireworks pops – like pop, pop, pop, pop. My dog came running up the stairs so I went outside to let him in and a few people were running around the park,” the neighbor said.
Video from the scene suggests the victims were found in a light-colored car parked on Dawes Hill Road, which appeared to have bullet holes in the driver’s door after the shooting.
A witness also recorded video of a person arrested at the scene, which showed a man in a black pickup being overrun by police.
RCMP can be heard telling the man to leave the truck and put his hands up.
“The two men who were in here are dead,” says an officer with his gun drawn, pointing to the car with the bullet holes.
“We have information that the truck involved matches your truck,” he added.
You hear the man protest and tell the officers that he is innocent.
The neighbor watched the whole interaction happen while he was making a statement to an officer in the alley.
“He said, ‘Do you recognize this vehicle?’ We said ‘No.’ And then he yelled at another cop, ‘Did they describe a black and gray truck?’ said the neighbor.
Then she said the vehicle was trying to reverse.
“Before you know it, they (police) were calling for guns. And then a policeman came running towards us with a very big gun.”
She said she was so scared she froze.
Eventually, a suspect was overpowered and arrested. Police cannot confirm whether the incident is related to the shooting.
A burnt-out vehicle was also found a short time later in the Fraser Heights area of Surrey.
“We are going to work with Surrey and our forensic experts to determine if that is related to our crime in Coquitlam,” Pierotti said.
Surrounding roads have reopened to traffic, but the alley that runs parallel to Mundy Street remained behind police tape on Thursday, as did Dawes Hill Park Playground.