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Vancouver police announce arrests, charges in DTES shooting

Two suspects are facing charges in Monday’s shooting at the Grand Union Hotel
DTES shooting
Vancouver police announced Tuesday that two people have been arrested and charged in Monday’s shooting at the Grand Union Hotel. Photo Dan Toulget

Vancouver police have arrested two suspects in one of three recent targeted shootings in the Downtown Eastside.

Police announced late Tuesday afternoon that two Vancouver residents, 26-year-old Thomas Joseph Brown and 31-year-old Desirae Lorell Cardinal, have been arrested and are facing charges in Monday’s early morning shooting at the Grand Union Hotel on West Hastings Street. A 50-year-old Vancouver man was rushed to hospital with serious injuries.

Both are charged with unlawfully discharging a firearm and possessing a firearm contrary to an order. Brown is also facing a charge of possessing a firearm contrary to an order.

Monday’s shooting was one of three that took place in the city’s Downtown Eastside over the course of 15 hours.

The first two shootings happened on Sunday within two hours of one another — one just before 4 p.m., near East Hastings Street and Dunlevy Avenue and the second around 6 p.m. in the area of East Pender and Abbott streets — followed by Monday’s incident at 6:30 a.m.

“The investigations into the three shootings this past weekend remain very active and identifying those involved has been a departmental priority,” VPD media relations officer Sgt. Aaron Roed said in a press release. “Although Crown Counsel has approved charges in Monday’s shooting, we believe there were others involved in these three incidents. It’s very important we hear from anyone with information about these shootings.”

Vancouver police Deputy Chief Howard Chow told reporters Monday that the shootings are the result of a gang turf war taking root in the Downtown Eastside.

“The intelligence that we’re getting is that there is a gang conflict that’s taking place,” he said. “And it’s that drug turf war that’s going on where everybody is vying for that piece of the action. That’s what Oppenheimer has created. It has destabilized that park, which never had those issues.”

Chow added that new gangs are showing up in Vancouver specifically looking to capitalize on those camped out at Oppenheimer Park and other vulnerable residents in the DTES. In years past, individual blocks within the Downtown Eastside were split between rivalling factions.

The deputy chief also said that the department supports an injunction to remove campers from the park who are subject to skyrocketing levels of crime, not just in the park, but across the Downtown Eastside.

Police are appealing for dashcam or cell phone video from anyone who may have been in the area of Hastings to Keefer just before 4 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 22, and later that day around 6 p.m. along Dunlevy to Heatley. Anyone with video or additional information is asked to call the VPD Major Crime Section at 604-717-2500 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

— With files from John Kurucz