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Surrey man charged in Whistler shooting

Believed to be first murder in Whistler in more than 30 years

By Clare Ogilvie

A Surrey man has been charged with second-degree murder following a fatal shooting in Whistler last weekend.

It’s believed the murder is the first the resort has seen in more than 30 years and it shocked the town.

“I am quite distraught,” said Whistler Mayor Ken Melamed, who has lived here since 1976.

“Obviously it is something that is of grave concern.”

Twenty-seven-year-old Shane Richards appeared in a North Vancouver court Monday, charged with second degree murder.

Richards was scheduled to appear in court Wednesday on unrelated charges. Last September he was sentenced to five months in jail for drug trafficking.

The victim, Michael George Boutros, 26, was in Whistler for some fun with a group of friends when he was shot in Village Square around 2 a.m. Saturday.

Boutros is not known to police. The Province reported this week that the Coquitlam man had just launched his own plumbing business.

“He was my rock — if you needed something he’d be there right away,” the victim’s brother Elias told The Province .

The incident took place just as the busy nightclubs began to empty for the evening and within sight of RCMP officers who routinely patrol the pedestrian area.

“There were quite a few people milling around Village Square,” said Cpl. Dale Carr of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team who was in Whistler to investigate the shooting.

“There was a bit of an altercation (between two groups) and someone pulled out a handgun and shot someone.”

It happened right in front of a Lower Mainland Police Dog Service team, which sprang into action and after a short foot chase caught the suspect.

The Lower Mainland Forensic Investigation Section is also conducting a crime scene examination.

For several years now the Resort Municipality of Whistler has teamed up with law enforcement agencies from the Lower Mainland to maintain a strong presence in the village, especially on the weekends and during holidays when the population of the town can swell to tens of thousands.

Saturday night there were at least six officers patrolling the village on foot.

“Our message is don’t bring your issues to the village because we are highly policed and we will get you,” said Inspector Norm McPhail of the Sea to Sky Region.

Visitors meandering through the village Sunday morning were caught by surprise by the police presence at a busy intersection of the pedestrian village.

“It’s hard to believe it would happened here,” said Peter Miles of Washington state. “I’ve been coming here for years and sure the party scene is busy but I never thought this could happen.”

Councillor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden, a resident since 1973, while upset about the shooting said: “I am personally convinced that Whistler is safe. This is an isolated incident.”

In 2003 there was a stabbing in Whistler outside one of the nightclubs. Since then clubs have set up systems of communication to warn each other of troublemakers and some use metal detectors to check for weapons.

Carr said it wasn’t clear if the suspect had come out of a club. The investigation continues.

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