COQUITLAM, BC –
One of the two men gunned down in Coquitlam, BC, on Wednesday night is a 25-year-old with ties to the Lower Mainland conflict gang, according to police.
The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team has identified the deceased as Ramin Salam, a Coquitlam resident who was allegedly associated with gang members. Another victim who survived appears to have gang ties as well.
“We do believe that was the reason for this shooting,” Sgt. Timothy Pierotti told reporters at a news conference.
Authorities are still working to identify the second man killed, and could not speak to his background.
Pierotti said Salam’s name was shared in the hopes that someone with information on the double-homicide will come forward and aid IHIT’s investigation.
The incident followed a series of alarming incidents across the Lower Mainland that police have responded to over the last week, including a violent armed robbery that led to a shoutout with police in Port Coquitlam on Tuesday and a series of shootings in Merritt.
Pierotti said it’s unclear whether there is an escalation in gang activity taking place in the region.
“It certainly does ebb and flow,” he added. “In terms of whether it’s heating back up again, I can’t say that for sure.”
The shooting took place on Dawes Hill Road near Mundy Street – near an elementary school – at around 7:30 pm Wednesday.
Officers responded to reports of shots fired and arrived to find two men with unresponsive gunshot wounds in a vehicle.
A witness captured cellphone video of what happened next. It shows first responders giving one of the victims CPR as the person lay lifeless on the road next to a vehicle.
“One victim was pronounced deceased on scene while another was transported to hospital and later succumbed to their injuries,” Cpl. Alexa Hodgins said in a news release hours after the incident.
A neighbor, who CTV News is not identifying for safety reasons, said she heard the shots.
“I heard a bunch of what sounded like firework pops – like pop, pop, pop, pop. My dog came running up the stairs, so I went outside to let him in and there was a couple of people running across the park,” said the neighbor.
Video from the scene suggests the victims were found inside a light-coloured car parked on Dawes Hill Road, which appeared to have bullet holes in the driver-side door after the shooting.
A witness also took a video of one person being arrested on the scene, showing a man in a black pickup truck being swarmed by police.
RCMP can be heard telling the man to exit the truck and put his hands up.
“The two guys that were in here are dead,” one officer with his gun drawn says while gesturing to the car with the bullet holes.
“We have intel that the truck involved matches your truck,” he adds.
You can hear the man protesting, telling the officers he’s innocent.
The neighbor watched the entire interaction happen while giving a statement to an officer in the alley.
He said, ‘Do you recognize this vehicle?’ We said ‘No.’ And then he was yelling to another cop, ‘Did they describe a black-grey truck? said the neighbor.
That’s when she said the vehicle tried to turn around.
“The next thing you know, they (police) were calling for rifles. And then there was a police officer with a very large rifle running towards us.”
She said she was so scared, she froze.
A suspect was ultimately tackled and arrested. Police have not confirmed whether that incident was related to the shooting.
A burned out vehicle was also found a short time later in Surrey’s Fraser Heights neighborhood.
“We’re going to work with Surrey and our forensic experts to determine whether that’s associated to our crime in Coquitlam,” Pierotti said.
The surrounding roads have reopened to traffic, but the alley that runs parallel to Mundy Street remained behind police tape Thursday, as did Dawes Hill Park Playground.