The victim in Kamloops’ first homicide of 2021 was a man in his 20s and Mounties are asking for the public’s help as they continue their investigation.
On Saturday, Feb. 13, at 7:50 p.m., officers responded to a call of shots fired at the Howard Johnson Motel at 530 Columbia Street. The victim was found in one of the motel’s units.
Based on the preliminary information, police believe the homicide was targeted and related to the drug trade.
“Police believe there is no immediate safety concern to the general public,” Const. Crystal Evelyn said.
Evelyn said the murder scene at the Howard Johnson, as well as two rooms at the Star Lodge at 775 West Columbia St., are part of this investigation and were searched by investigators.
Police are also conducting interviews and neighbourhood inquiries and collecting any video footage that may be available.
“This homicide occurred early in the night at a time when many people are usually still awake,” Evelyn said. “If anyone saw anything suspicious at all that they think may be related to this investigation, please contact us right away. Maybe you saw someone hanging around the area who caught your eye or maybe it was someone running away in a hurry around 8 p.m., when the call came in. If you think that something you heard or saw may be related, please let us know.”
Anybody with information is asked to call Kamloops RCMP at 250-828-3000 and reference file number 2021-4173.
The Howard Johnson Inn was the scene in December of a stabbing that police say was also likely connected to the drug trade.
On Dec. 2, 2020, police were called to investigate a report of a man being stabbed multiple times.
The victim, who is known to police as being involved in the local drug trade, was treated at Royal Inland Hospital for his injuries. The police investigation found video surveillance of a suspect leaving the room and Mounties released the footage video in a bid to identify him.
While the Howard Johnson Inn has had a stabbing and now a murder, it was not among the 10 hotels and motels served nuisance property notices last fall by the city due to criminal, bylaws and fire activity.
On Oct. 22, 2020, the city declared 10 motels and hotels nuisance properties: the Star Lodge, Desert Inn, Knights Inn, Columbia Motor Lodge, Ramada Inn, Hospitality Inn, Panorama Inn, Best Western Plus, Grandview Hotel, all along West Columbia Street in Lower Sahali, and the Acadian Motor Inn at 1390 Columbia St. downtown.