A recent spike in violent crime — including three shooting deaths in four weeks — is part of a power struggle among gangsters for control of the Kamloops drug trade.
Police confirmed on Tuesday that one of the victims shot last week in Brocklehurst, Jason Glover, has died — the most recent victim of the violent battle that has been playing out in the city in recent months.
“We recognize that recent acts of violence are concerning for the residents in our community and the Kamloops RCMP is committed to identifying those responsible,” Kamloops RCMP Cpl. Jodi Shelkie said.
“While we cannot say there is no risk to the general public, we can say that each of the incidents appear to be targeted. For those involved in these shootings or people who know them, we ask that you think about the safety of your family, friends and the general public.”
Kamloops Mounties issued a press release on Tuesday that included a timeline of recent events linked to organized crime, starting with the murder of Troy Gold last October.
Gold was reported missing on Oct. 3 and is believed to have been found dead in the Lac du Bois grasslands above Batchelor Heights. Though police confirmed in November that human remains were found, they have not confirmed they are those of 35-year-old Gold.
Shelkie said suspects have been identified in Gold’s murder.
“Serious crime unit investigators are optimistic with its progress and continue to treat it as an open and active investigation,” Shelkie said.
On Dec. 6, Mounties executed a search warrant at a downtown warehouse owned by 35-year-old Cameron Cole, a man believed to be at or near the top of one of Kamloops’ two largest drug-dealing criminal organizations. Cole and an associate, Charles Patrick, 62, were later arrested and released on strict bail conditions.
The raid was part of an investigation into a home invasion in Dallas in January 2018.
“The home invasion occurred at a rental home that was being used as a stash house by participants in the Kamloops drug trade,” Shelkie said.
On Jan. 23, two men, Cody Mathieu and Rex Gill, were gunned down outside local hotels — Mathieu at the Super 8 Motel in Valleyview and Gill at the Comfort Inn and Suites in Aberdeen.
At the time, police said the slayings were linked to the drug trade.
On Tuesday, Shelkie said one of the victims, Rex Gill, may have been shot due to a case of mistaken identity. Mathieu, though, was known to police.
She said suspects have been identified in the two shooting deaths.
Last week, on Valentine’s Day, two men and a woman were robbed in the downtown core by two men armed with firearms. After the robbery, the women was kidnapped and taken away in a vehicle owned by one of the other robbery victims.
One suspect, Justin Daniels, was arrested in Kelowna in relation to the incident.
Shelkie said both suspects and victims are involved in the drug trade.
The next day, on Friday, a man and a woman were shot in Brocklehurst, near the corner of Tranquille Road and Southill Street. Jason Glover died and police have said they will not be commenting any further on the woman’s injuries.
Glover’s Facebook page has a May 2014 greeting from Troy Gold, the Kamloops man murdered in October.
Shelkie said the spate of violence in Kamloops is related to the ongoing opioid crisis, which she said is largely caused and fuelled by organized crime.
“Many of these crimes are being committed by people against their own local allegiances. Not all violence is one group against another,” Shelkie said. “It is not safe to be a drug trafficker in Kamloops right now. The group who is supplying your drugs today may be the same ones who will kill you tomorrow. If you know who is doing the violence, it’s time to contact the police.”
Shelkie said police will continue to ask for the public’s help when investigating these crimes.
“Because we know that there are people in the community who know who is responsible for those crimes,” she said. “We need those individuals to come forward and help us target the small group of individuals who are responsible for the majority of our crimes.”
Shelkie said Kamloops Mounties are working with a number of agencies, including the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit and the Uniform Gang Enforcement Team, which has returned to the city this week after doing a sweep in January, following the murders of Mathieu and Gill.
That sweep led to a number of arrests and the seizure of a number of weapons.