When Langley RCMP Supt. Murray Power spoke to Township Mayor Jack Froese shortly after the targeted slaying of a man at a McDonald’s on Sept. 10, he warned the mayor to expect outrage from the community.
But to a certain extent, that’s exactly what Power wants to see.
“We cannot become numb to this type of behaviour,” Power told the Langley Advance Times on Tuesday, Sept. 24.
The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) is taking on the main investigation into the death of Justin Haevischer, who was gunned down just after 8 p.m. outside the McDonald’s at 264th Street and 56th Avenue, while people were inside eating and working.
No one else was injured, but bullets shattered windows in the restaurant.
The slaying is believed to be the latest in a series of targeted killings involving gangland figures in the Lower Mainland.
Justin was the brother of Cody Haevischer, one of the men convicted in the Surrey Six shootings where six men, including two with no gang ties, were killed in a high rise on Oct. 19, 2007.
Cody was given a life sentence in 2014 on first-degree murder charges.
Langley RCMP officers were among the first responders on the scene, and Power said what they saw was startling and hard to process.
“Nobody’s prepared for that,” he said.
He noted the alarmingly cavalier attitude of the killer or killers towards the innocent people nearby.
“The public is at risk here,” Power said, noting there have been several innocent victims caught in the crossfire of Lower Mainland gang conflict.
The most recent such victim was a 15-year-old Coquitlam high school student Alfred Wong, who was killed in January when his family’s car drove through Gastown in Vancouver and into the middle of a shootout that also killed a 23-year-old who was known to police.
The Langley McDonald’s is another reminder that the police and community need to prevent young people from being recruited into gang life.
“There’s two ways out of this, jail or death, if you stay in the gang lifestyle,” Power said.
The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFSEU) provides gang intervention support across the province, using both outreach and law enforcement to try to get people out of gangs.
Power noted that for Langley families, it’s important to keep an eye on teenagers who might be entering gang life. Extra cell phones, new vehicles when there’s no source of income, and an inability to account for their activities.
The 18-21 year olds recruited into gangs are among those most often involved in shootings, including as victims.
Power noted that the stereotype of gang members is those from poor backgrounds, but gangs have been recruiting “indiscriminately” from youths of middle class and upper class families as well.
If people are concerned that their child could be involved with gang members, Power said parents should pick up the phone and ask for help.