Mounties say Kamloops residents can expect to see an increased police presence around the city following a pair of murders Wednesday believed to be related to organized crime.
Kamloops RCMP responded to the Super 8 motel in Valleyview at 6:50 a.m. for a report of a man on the ground in the parking lot. Officers found the man with apparent gunshot wounds and he was transported to Royal Inland Hospital.
Nearly two hours later, at about 8:25 a.m., police responded to a report that a man had been shot outside the Comfort Inn and Suites just off Rogers Way. He, too, was transported to hospital.
Police later confirmed both men — 31-year-old Cody Mathieu of Kamloops and 41-year-old Rex Gill of Penticton — had died. Mathieu was the man found in Valleyview, police said, while Gill was located outside the hotel in Aberdeen.
RCMP Insp. Steve McLeod told reporters it’s believed the shootings were targeted attacks related to organized crime. He also stressed that the investigation is in its early days.
Mathieu was previously known to police, McLeod said, but Gill was not. Investigators have not said whether they are aware of any connection between the two victims.
No suspects have been identified, but police believe the murders were related.
“Witnesses at the Comfort Inn described a white car that was in the area at the time of the shooting. Later yesterday afternoon a vehicle of similar description was found burning in Barnhartvale,” McLeod said.
“Within two hours, the Kamloops RCMP entered into two homicide investigations. All units within the detachment were fully engaged.”
Local police are being supported by investigators from other B.C. detachments, including the RCMP’s gang task force.
McLeod said more than 50 investigators are now “working around the clock” on these two homicides.
“Through our investigation we know that organized crime was behind this violence and we will be addressing it as such,” McLeod said.
McLeod said some officers will be investigating the homicides while others will be tasked with focusing on “disrupting any further violence in our community.”
“The community of Kamloops is going to see a noticeable increase in police presence as a result of these investigations,” McLeod said.
Sources with knowledge of the incidents told KTW the shootings are related to a turf war between local drug-trafficking criminal organizations, or potentially a riff within a gang.
When asked if police know whether the shootings are related to rival gangs or gang infighting, McLeod said police do not know.
“That’s why we front end loaded this file with significant resources to make those links to any organized crime activity going on either in the Kamloops area or the region,” McLeod said.
He said part of the investigation will be to determine if the shootings took place at the hotels or offsite, though investigators have said gunshots were heard outside the Aberdeen hotel.
Police are also trying to determine the number of suspects and whether the victims were residents of the hotels.
Asked if any hotel rooms were searched at the Super 8 or Comfort Inn, McLeod only specified that police are still investigating “active” crime scenes.
Police had the parking lot of the Super 8 and the adjacent portion of Frontage Road cordoned off Wednesday morning.
At least 15 police vehicles responded to the Rogers Place incident where police tape surrounded that parking lot as well.
The BC Coroners Service was also at the scene in Aberdeen, and an investigator could be seen speaking with police.