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Thursday, 18 August 2011

Kelowna ambush won't go unpunished, experts warn

Gang experts are warning the underworld will not a let a deadly ambush that claimed the life of a B.C. gangster go unpunished.

Suspected gang leader Jonathan Bacon died Sunday afternoon when the SUV he was riding in was attacked in front of a hotel in Kelowna, B.C.

Masked gunmen reportedly fired a volley of bullets into the vehicle, fatally injuring Bacon, but also wounding a full-patch Hells Angel and three other people riding in the SUV.

The 30-year-old Bacon was a suspected gangster whom police had warned the public to avoid.

Police claimed Bacon was one of the leading members of the Red Scorpions, a street gang with an infamous reputation in British Columbia.

Kash Heed, a member of the B.C. legislature and a former West Vancouver police chief, said the Red Scorpions were originally part of another gang called the United Nations.

But they eventually broke off from the UN gang and have since carved out a position for themselves in the illegal drug market.

"They, like other gangs, are involved in drug activity, drug importation, drug trafficking, throughout British Columbia and elsewhere in Canada," Heed told CTV's Canada AM during a telephone interview from Vancouver on Tuesday morning.

Because of Bacon's alleged ties to the Red Scorpions and gang life, police believe that his death was targeted and the public is not at risk. But they do fear the repercussions that his death may still bring.

"Gangs and their associates have a callous disregard for the safety of others when disputes erupt and it potentially places us all at risk," RCMP Supt. Bill McKinnon said in a statement released Monday.

Heed said underworld members will not let the Kelowna ambush go unpunished, especially considering the high-profile nature of its targets.

"These are well-known gangsters who are armed and they will go back and seek retaliation for what has taken place," Heed said.

Street gang expert Michael Chettleburgh said the people who avenge Bacon's death will likely wait for the right time to strike.

"Will it be immediate? Time will tell. I think cooler heads will prevail for now because there's a lot of police attention to the issue," Chettleburgh told CTV's Canada AM during an interview in Toronto on Tuesday morning.

But Chettleburgh said street gangs can't afford to back down when they come under attack.

"You have to answer violence with violence, otherwise your brand identity on the street will be greatly diminished," Chettleburgh said.

Heed said street gang members have the capability to travel to other provinces and across borders, which suggests that payback could come at any time for the people responsible for the Kelowna attack.

"These gang members, they are mobile. They don't stick to one particular area and they're not necessarily going to stick just to the province of British Columbia," said Heed.




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