Waiting for the next shell casing to fall

Police assurances that ‘the public is not at risk’ provides little comfort

It’s been a troubling few days in Chilliwack.

On Thursday morning police were on scene at a home on Wellington Ave. It quickly became clear officers were dealing with something serious as members of the Integrated Homicide Investigative Team (IHIT) began showing up.

The team later confirmed what everyone knew: the victim was “known to police” and the killing appeared targeted.

The death adds one more name to a disturbingly long list of people murdered in the Lower Mainland. In fact, the Chilliwack killing was almost overshadowed by news two days earlier that two teenagers had been found shot to death on a Surrey street.

While there’s nothing to indicate any of these deaths are directly connected, they do show an alarming trend: The level of violence and the disregard for anyone in the way.

That reality was made clear on Friday when gun shots rang out on a quiet Chilliwack street. Any one of those bullets could have strayed into the pretty homes that line the street.

As Chilliwack RCMP collected shell casings Friday, residents looked on in disbelief.

Then on Monday, residents were again shocked to see the burnt out remains of the home where Thursday’s murder had occurred. A fire, so ferocious that firefighters could only protect neighbouring properties when they arrived, destroyed the empty home at around 3 a.m.

The police tape was restrung as an acrid smell hung in the air.

Police like to tell us that the public is not at risk; that much of the violence is contained within the illicit drug trade.

That may be true. But it does little to relieve the anxiety of residents who wait for the next shell casing to drop and worry they may be caught in the crossfire.

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