A parking lot in downtown Chilliwack remained behind police tape Saturday morning following a stabbing Friday night that left two people dead and another injured. IHIT is investigating. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

UPDATE: Two dead following stabbing in downtown Chilliwack

Few details yet from IHIT but it’s possible that homeless were targeted

Two people are dead and another injured after a triple stabbing near Five Corners downtown Chilliwack Friday night.

Police responded to a report of an altercation in the old Empress parking lot at the corner of Young and Yale roads just after 10 p.m. When Chilliwack RCMP arrived, three victims were found with stab wounds.

Two of the three succumbed to their injuries and the altercation was deemed a double homicide, which triggers calling in the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT).

IHIT issued a statement Saturday that said it was unknown if it was a targeted attack.

The downtown was busy with pedestrians at the time with the first Party in the Park ending about a half an hour before. Several people reported hearing about stabbings.

“The investigation is in its infancy, and there is limited information to indicate whether this attack occurred between individuals known to each other or if it was random.” IHIT spokesperson Cpl. Meghan Foster said. “Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact police.”

By Monday, IHIT had no new information to provide whether there were one or more assailants and whether or not suspects were in custody or at large.

Meanwhile, rumours circulated on social media and there was a large police presence at a McIntosh Avenue apartment on Saturday. It has not been confirmed if this was connected to Friday’s stabbings, but a resident on the second floor of the apartment said a large number of officers with shotguns and rifles knocked down his neighbour’s door.

The resident said police showed him photos from the apartment raided of children and asked if he thought the kids were safe.

By Sunday, officers were still outside his unit and residents were told not to put garbage in dumpsters or go near them. By Monday afternoon, two uniformed officers with cruisers were stationed outside the apartment and more inside.

One rumour still also unconfirmed is that local marginalized or homeless people and/or drug users may have been the targets of the stabbings.

Coun. Sam Waddington lives less than 100 metres from where the main altercation took place, and while he wasn’t home at the time, he spoke to the issue saying that something like this was, sadly, inevitable.

“To me it speaks to the vulnerability of these populations,” he said Monday. “Lots of people talk about the homeless being a scourge on our city and yet there is a palpable fear in the homeless community. There are serious safety concerns for marginal populations and that is something that we need to address.”

Griffin Security CEO Brian Goldstone was in the area when the incident occurred but he said he was unable to comment on what he saw as he is now a witness in the criminal investigation.

Names of the deceased have not yet been released, but tributes are pouring out on Facebook for Doug Presseau who many confirmed was one of the victims. Many posted condolences and rest-in-peace messages on his page, with some suggesting the word on the street is that Presseau was killed trying to intervene to stop the violence.

As for Waddington, he was considering the murders just steps from his home downtown while overnight Friday dealing with a break-in at his outdoor outfitting store in Vedder Crossing. Waddington said tens of thousands of dollars of gear was stolen from the shop overnight Friday including tents, radios, satellite phones and some personal, staff items including an expensive carbon-fibre road bike.

He said that despite the value of some of what was stolen, the theft appeared to be one of opportunity rather than planned and sophisticated.

“They stole two of our tents from rentals when there was 40 brand new tents of higher value 10 feet away,” he said, adding the thieves also nabbed a half-empty bottle of gin, frozen hot dogs and some ice cream bars.

See www.theprogress.com for more on the double-murder downtown as details become available.

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Jenna Hauck/ The Progress A parking lot in downtown Chilliwack remained behind police tape Saturday morning following a stabbing Friday night that left two people dead and another injured. IHIT is investigating.

Shane MacKichan photo Chilliwack RCMP on scene at a July 7 evening stabbing downtown that left two people dead.

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