Suspects identified in murder in Kamloops

A man in his 20s was gunned down in the Howard Johnson Inn on Feb. 13. Police say he knew his suspected killer and that his death is connected to the city’s low level drug trade.

Police say they have identified suspects involved in a shooting death in Kamloops on the weekend, the city’s first homicide of the year and part of what Mounties say is a steady increase in violence among those involved in the low end of drug dealing.

Const. Crystal Evelyn said investigators have determined the suspected killer and victim, a man is his 20s, knew each other and were and are known to police.

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On Saturday, Feb. 13, at 7:50 p.m., officers responded to a call of shots fired at the Howard Johnson Inn at 530 Columbia Street. The victim was found in one of the motel’s units.

Evelyn said investigators have identified suspects, noting the murder is connected to the low-level drug trade in Kamloops. Police say the murder was targeted and that there is no immediate safety concern to the general public.

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.

“Although the circumstances surrounding this murder are still under investigation, it’s the same type of violence we have experienced in Kamloops before, involving low-end participants of the illegal drug trade who use violence as a business practice,” said Kamloops RCMP Sgt. Nestor Baird, noting the violence involves low-end drug dealers and debt collectors.

“If you are involved in the drug trade at any level, now is the time to rethink the choices you are making and to reach out to other people and agencies that can help you leave that lifestyle behind.”

Anybody with information related to the homicide 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.

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