Homicide investigators have identified the man killed in Wednesday night’s shooting in North Vancouver as Ali Rezza Serri, a 43-year-old Vancouver man.
Witnesses reported hearing between five and seven gunshots coming from a lane between the 200 blocks of 17th and 18th Streets just before 11 p.m.
Investigators believe two victims were sitting in a car when a suspect or suspects approached and opened fire.
First responders attempted CPR on Serri but he died at the scene. The second victim, who police are not identifying, was taken to hospital and has since been released, according to Sgt. Frank Jang, IHIT spokesman.
“We believe this was targeted. This certainly was not random. We're still trying to determine if this was gang related. There are early indications that reveal that both males may have had gang affiliations. That is very important,” Jang said in a press conference 12 hours after the shooting.
Neither of the men lived at the home where the vehicle was parked, Jang said, and officers are trying to determine why they were there or who they were meeting with.
“Certainly, it is too early to speak on the exact motive. There are some theories that we're working through right now,” he said.
Members of the North Shore RCMP and West Vancouver police staked out Lions Gate Bridge and Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing immediately after the shooting, but so far no suspects have been identified.
Jang said the key to the finding the suspect is likely on someone’s home surveillance or dashcam footage, taken from the nearby streets or on either of the North Shore bridges around 11 p.m. IHIT is appealing for anyone who may have useful information to come forward.
“This person needs to be found, needs to be brought in, needs to be held to account,” Jang said.
Nina Knudsen and her 16-year-old daughter Brynn Meredith were at home in the 200 block of 17th Street when they heard the gunfire just before 11 p.m.
“I heard six shots,” said Meredith. “I heard three, then a [one]-second break, then three more.”
Knudsen and Meredith said a man who appeared to be hurt ran from that area to one of the nearby fourplexes before collapsing.
“He was screaming in pain,” said Knudsen.
Police arrived quickly and began to search the area, said Knudsen, telling neighbours to stay inside.
North Vancouver resident Mark Teasdale lives in the same area where the shooting took place, a residential area not far from Lions Gate Hospital.
“We heard five or seven shots. Then someone screaming,” he told the North Shore News.
Teasdale said he was told people heard men yelling in the area right before the shots went off.
Police and ambulance crews were on the scene quickly, said Teasdale.
The man who had been screaming was loaded into an ambulance and taken away, said Teasdale.
He said he also saw a second ambulance approaching the scene.
Serri, who has a long history with police, was out on bail at the time of the shooting, charged with more than dozen fraud related offences around the Lower Mainland.
In 2019, he received a 15-month jail sentence for mail theft and fraud after pleading guilty to a scheme targeting the owners of empty mansions in the British Properties for mail theft, identity theft and use of stolen credit cards. The court heard at the time, he committed the crimes to fund a methamphetamine and gambling addiction.
But Jang emphasized there is now a whole family of victims who want to see the case solved.
“We want people to realize that there is a family grieving behind the scenes,” he said “They're still going through probably the most tragic news of their lives.”
North Vancouver RCMP Sgt. Peter DeVries said anyone who has been left traumatized by the shooting in their neighbourhood can access the RCMP victim’s services unit.
“Of course, it's alarming for people. It's alarming for people who live in these neighbourhoods and hear the shots being fired at night,” he said. “This is a community of people who care a lot for each other. And we want to leverage that in order to help not only prevent these types of things from happening, but also to assist investigators when they do happen in trying to gather as much evidence as possible.”
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact IHIT’s tip line 1-877-551-IHIT (4448), or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. To remain anonymous, please contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).