By Jesse Winter
LANGLEY, British Columbia (Reuters) -Three people including the suspected gunman were killed in a series of shootings early on Monday in the Canadian province of British Columbia, police said.
Police said the shooting in the city of Langley, a suburb of Vancouver, started around midnight and that four people were shot by what was believed to be a lone male gunman. Two men were found dead and another man and a woman were injured. The woman is in critical condition in hospital.
Police said the shooter, who they identified as Jordan Daniel Goggin, 28, was wounded when they located him and he was shot dead at the scene by officers.
Goggin was from nearby Surrey and “was known to police but had non-criminal contact,” police said in a statement.
“We’re still investigating to determine if the gunman had acted alone. While the investigation is ongoing, all indications are that there was nobody else involved and there is no further ongoing threat to public safety,” Chief Superintendent Ghalib Bhayani of the regional Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)force said at a news conference.
Shootings occurred in at least five different locations throughout the City of Langley and the Township of Langley. Police had asked the public to remain out of several areas, including the parking lot of a casino and a bus stop.
Authorities had issued an emergency alert for multiple shootings involving “transient victims”, which led to suggestions the victims were homeless.
But Sergeant David Lee from the RCMP’s homicide investigation team said he could not confirm the victims were homeless and officers were still trying to determine if they had any relationship to the gunman.
The victims have been identified but the police have not released that information.
A Reuters witness saw two black SUVs, similar to those used by police emergency response teams, in a ditch near one of the shooting sites. One vehicle had bullet holes in the windshield.
Multiple shootings are much less common in Canada than in the United States. Canada has stricter gun laws than its southern neighbor, though Canadians are allowed to own firearms as long as they have a license.
One of Canada’s worst mass shootings took place in 2020, when a gunman driving a fake police car shot 13 people and killed another nine in a fire he set in Portapique, Nova Scotia.
While Canada’s gun homicide rate is less than one-fifth the U.S. rate, it is higher than that of other rich countries and has been rising, according to Statistics Canada.
In May, Ottawa introduced legislation to implement a “national freeze” on the sale and purchase of handguns a week after a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers in their classroom in Uvalde, Texas.
(Reporting by Ismail Shakil, Kanishka Singh and Nia Williams; Editing by Bill Berkrot, Deepa Babington and Christian Schmollinger)