INTEGRATED Homicide Investigation Team Inspector Michelle Tansey on Thursday identified the victim in Wednesday’s Langley shooting at the Langley Sportplex as 46-year-old Todd Gouwenberg, a resident of Langley.
“Mr. Gouwenberg was known to police as part of the gang environment in the Lower Mainland, but I do caution, we are in the early stages of the investigation and have not yet determined the motive for the murder. We can say with confidence that Mr. Gouwenberg was targeted,” she added.
Gouwenberg was a former mixed martial arts fighter, a search of the Internet shows.
IHIT is also investigating last Monday’s fatal shooting of 20-year-old Bailey McKinney in Coquitlam’s Town Centre Park.
“Both shootings were brazen and took place in broad daylight and in public spaces where members of the community go for recreation and relaxation. We understand the public’s concern about these acts of violence and we share that concern,” said Tansey. “Both investigations are still in their early stages but I can tell you they are very much active and progress is being made.”
She added: “IHIT is working with Langley RCMP and other I-Team partners to complete priority tasks, scene processing and witness interviewing. Investigators also continue their efforts on the Coquitlam homicide of Bailey McKinney and will work diligently to gather the evidence needed to identify those responsible and bring them to justice.”
The Langley shooting occurred just after 9 a.m. on Wednesday.
A grey Dodge pickup truck found burning in the 1200-block of Riverside Drive in Port Coquitlam, beside Terry Fox Secondary School, is believed to be the getaway vehicle. The suspects are believed to have gone over the Golden Ears Bridge shortly after 9 a.m.
“If you have dash cam video … you may very well have footage of the shooter and perhaps those who are aiding and abetting them. It is so crucial that you call us immediately,” IHIT Sgt. Frank Jang told the media on Wednesday.
Police sources told The VOICE that Gouwenberg’s murder is not necessarily a retaliatory killing for the homicide of Harpreet Singh Dhaliwal, 31, of Abbotsford on April 17 in Vancouver’s Coal Harbour. The victim had been around for 20-plus years as a gangster. So this retaliation could have been for something that happened 20 years ago.
The murders of Dhaliwal, McKinney and Gouwenberg could spark retaliation though. “We know from previous years that all it takes is a couple of incidents for a significant amount of retribution to take place. We have seen that many, many times over the years,” police sources noted.
This year, things sort of calmed down after the first week of January. The number of gang homicides dropped dramatically. In fact, for about a six-week period they pretty much stopped. In March there were no murders. The gang homicide statistics are the same or below that of previous years.
On April 19 at around 6:30 p.m., the Coquitlam RCMP responded to Town Centre Park at 1299 Pinetree Way for a shooting. Police arrived to find the shooting victim, McKinney, lying on the ground. He was pronounced dead at scene.
The VOICE reported on Monday that media reports said that the park was packed with teenagers and young adults. A dark coloured sedan was seen being towed away.
IHIT has conduct of the investigation and is working closely with the Coquitlam RCMP, the Integrated Forensic Identification Services (IFIS) and the B.C. Coroners Service to gather evidence.
“We believe this was a case of an individual being targeted for murder and not the park itself. Unfortunately, we know too well that these types of events can happen in any community,” said Sgt. Jang. “We are aware that there were several people in the immediate area when the shooting occurred. Many of them fled the scene, understandably, from the shock of having witnessed a shooting. However, if you were one of those people, we need you to come forward now.”
According to the online court services, McKinney, faced a raft of charges in connection to a Coquitlam incident on September 23 and 24, 2019, including unlawful confinement or imprisonment, assault with a weapon and possession of a firearm without a licence or registration and possession for the purpose of trafficking. He was due to make court appearances on May 12 and May 20.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the IHIT Information Line at 1-877-551-IHIT (4448) or by email at [email protected].
Should you wish to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers by phone at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).