Why investigations into gang homicides are complicated



RCMP Assistant Commissioner Dwayne McDonald
Photo by Jay Sharma of Mahi Photo Studio

RCMP Assistant Commissioner Dwayne McDonald, who has worked both in the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of British Columbia (CFSEU-BC), where he led the investigation into the gangland slaying of Red Scorpions leader Jonathan Bacon, and the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT), where he was the Officer in Charge, told The VOICE this week that solving gang homicides is complicated because often times you have several problems.

I had pointed out to him that there have been quite a few murders in Surrey and quite a few murders in the South Asian community which remain unsolved and that does lead to a feeling of insecurity. I asked him what was preventing these cases from being solved.

McDonald, of course, couldn’t speak about current investigations; after all, you don’t want to tip off the killer or killers.

Speaking of the challenges investigators face, he said that one of the problems was the lack of willingness of witnesses to come forward “for either fear of retaliation or breaking the silence of groups or individuals.”

He added: “Those investigations are always complex because the gang members are very educated in their trade craft, so to speak, so that the techniques that police use to catch them are often being challenged not only in the court process but ongoing.

“So you can imagine any time a criminal is caught and they get convicted and they go to jail, through the disclosure process they are taught how they were caught by police. So when they get out of jail they know not to repeat the same mistakes! So it’s an evolving process – the police learning how to catch the bad guys; the bad guys trying to learn how to get away.”

McDonald added: “And so these investigations are costly; they require a significant number of resources and they are very challenging. Having said that, when we have the opportunity to work on these investigations, the police are very successful in bringing these people to justice.”




McDonald, in response to a question about having a special tip line for Surrey, told The VOICE: “Anytime we have an investigation we will have a tip line open up. We use Crime Stoppers regularly and Crime Stoppers is very successful and very quick at getting us tips that have come in in relation to our investigations.”

He added: “So I would always promote the use of Crime Stoppers. They have been very, very successful for us in the City.”

(Of course, when you give any information to Crime Stoppers, you don’t have to give your name or phone number, and your privacy is protected by law. So you do not have anything to fear.)

McDonald pointed out: “I think I need to remind you as well that we do have the parent help line and that’s for any parent that feels their child is at risk or … might be involved in something or have some information on something that is happening, by all means they can call that number: 604-599-7800.”