Prince George RCMP suspect a rising gang conflict related to the drug trade is behind the trio of homicides recorded so far this year and have released the names of the victims.
Derek Mitchell, 38, of Prince George died in hospital after he was found Tuesday, January 25 at a 1300-block Porter Avenue home - at the corner of Porter and Oak Streets - in the VLA.
Robert Gordon Michael Elliott, 44, of Prince George, was the victim of an incident in a 600-block Irwin Street home on Saturday, March 12. Initially reported as a suspicious death, police said the incident now appears to be a homicide.
Sahib Johal, 20, died in hospital this past Sunday, March 27. He was found in the 1800 block of Spruce Street after RCMP were called to a report of gunshots.
Johal was from the Lower Mainland where he was known to police for his gang affiliations. Johal and his associates were renting an Airbnb in the Lower College Heights area at the time of his death, RCMP added.
Mitchell and Elliott were also known to police, RCMP said.
RCMP also said a report of gunplay in which a 700-block Irwin Street home was targeted early morning Tuesday, March 29, may also be gang related, saying the home's occupants are known to police for their involvement in the drug trade. No one was injured.
The incident occurred sometime between 5 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. and police are asking anyone who may have witnessed the event or who may have video surveillance or dash cam images from that time and place to contact Prince George RCMP. The detachment can be reached at 250-561-3300.
They are also asking people to keep an eye out for suspicious activity in their neighbourhoods, particularly in the VLA and Bowl areas.
"Simple things such as people from out of town paying for high price items in cash or an increased amount of person or vehicle traffic at a residence could be an indication of drug activity," RCMP said in a statement issued Thursday morning.
"Gangs and their associates have a callous disregard for the safety of others when disputes erupt and, potentially, it can place the public at risk," RCMP added. "The issue of gangs and organized crime is one of the top policing priorities for Prince George RCMP."
In December 2020, Elliott was sentenced to a further 68 days in jail and 18 months probation for assault causing bodily harm from a May 2020 stabbing. He had spent a total of 199 days in custody on the count prior to sentencing.
Members of the Uniform Gang Enforcement Team while in the city to carry out checks on suspected drug dealers, and in the process, witnessed a stabbing, police said at the time.
Tips can also be left anonymously at Northern B.C. Crime Stoppers, 1-800-222-8477 or online at www.northernbccrimestoppers.ca (English only).
You do not have to reveal your identity to Crime Stoppers. If you provide information that leads to an arrest or recovery of stolen property, you could be eligible for a cash reward.