Shooting in Canada’s Whistler Village leaves two dead

Comment

Two people are dead after a brazen daylight shooting on Sunday rocked the Canadian mountain resort town of Whistler, B.C.

Police responded to shots fired near the Sundial Hotel shortly after noon. One person died at the scene and a second succumbed to injuries at Whistler Medical Clinic, the Whistler Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said in a statement.

Two people were arrested, and Inspector Robert Dykstra, the officer in charge of the Sea to Sky RCMP, said authorities were confident there was no longer any “risk to community safety.”

Sunday’s shooting — which police said took place out in the open in the central Whistler Village area — shocked the tightknit resort community. Tourists and residents scrambled for cover as reports of shots being fired spread through the village.

The resort operator, Whistler Blackcomb, said in a statement on Twitter that it was closing for the day “out of respect for all of those impacted.” Lifts remained open while all remaining guests were brought down from the mountain.

“We are shocked and deeply saddened by this senseless act of violence, and we stand in support of our community,” the resort operator said.

Local media reported that the shootings may be gang-related, citing unnamed sources. Police said they have “not yet determined if this incident and a recently located burned car are related, or if they are related to ongoing gang conflict.”

Gruesome videos circulating on social media showed two men lying face down outside the hotel.

Canada vows to ‘freeze’ handgun sales, buy back assault-style weapons

Fatal shootings are rare in Canada compared with the United States, although they have grown in recent years — from 134 in 2013 to 277 in 2020, according to Statistics Canada. The percentage of homicides involving a firearm jumped from 26 percent to 37 percent in that period. Most gang firearm-related homicides in 2020 (63 percent) were committed with a handgun.

Canada introduced new gun-control legislation in May that, if passed, would implement a “national freeze” on buying, importing, transferring and selling handguns, effectively capping the number of such weapons already in the country.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau noted at the time that gun violence has been getting worse in recent years. The nation “need only look south of the border to know that if we do not take action, firmly and rapidly it gets worse and worse and gets more difficult to counter,” he said in the wake of mass shootings in Texas and across the U.S.-Canada border in Buffalo.

Amanda Coletta in Alberta, Canada, contributed to this report.

Leave a Comment