Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Charges in Arsons, Shootings Targeting People Linked to B.C. Justice Institute

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Charges in Arsons, Shootings Targeting People Linked to B.C. Justice Institute

Article excerpt

Two charged after mysterious attacks on 15 people

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SURREY, B.C. - Two people, including an alleged gang associate, face arson and firearms charges in a mysterious reign of terror that targeted people loosely connected to British Columbia's Justice Institute.

The pieces of a complex four-year investigation began coming together for police when 15 seemingly random victims were linked to the institute, which trains police officers and first responders.

Some of the victims whose homes or vehicles were set ablaze or shot at had parked at the training centre's parking lot while taking their children to a function next door, said Chief Supt. Kevin Hackett of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit.

"Although the intent was to target people who were likely associated with law enforcement and the justice institute, other people who weren't connected in any way to the (institute) were being targeted," Hackett told a news conference Monday.

Twenty-three attacks took place between April 2011 and January 2012 in several municipalities around southwestern B.C., including Surrey, Vancouver, Burnaby and Maple Ridge.

Many of the victims were at home during the attacks and the ordeal has been stressful for them, Hackett said.

"Their lives are at risk, either from a stray bullet or an intended bullet entering into that residence or the house burning down around you," he said. "That's going to put fear into your family and fear into yourself."

The justice institute received a threatening email in January 2011 referencing nine people, eight of whom had already had their property attacked.

The arsons and shootings subsided in 2012, but several of the victims were terrorized again when they received suspicious letters in the mail last winter. One letter warned the attacks would resume in the new year, Hackett said.

Police believe an Insurance Corp. of B.C. …

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