“Because of their similar M.O.s, it lends us to investigate whether they are connected.,” she says, but adds, “Other than the obvious of them being in the same location, in the same week, and pepper spray being used at the same time, we don’t have anything else that lends us to believe they’re related.”
She also says there’s no evidence connecting those incidents with the shots fired at Northwoods Inn Sunday night. As the situation at Northwoods and the handmade Molotov cocktails being thrown at a home in the 101 block of 96 Avenue Sunday night happened less than 20 minutes apart, police also don’t believe they’re connected.
“It was almost happening simultaneously… so we don’t believe they’re linked at this time,” says Shelkie. “It would have involved too many people if it was a group of people that were related to each other being in two places.”
She adds there’s no other apparently connection, including who owned the house and the weapons used.
At this point in the investigation, Shelkie says RCMP “truly believes” the Marquis Centre shootings are drug related, and as specific apartments have been targeted, and not happening at “high traffic” times, the public should not be concerned for their safety.
“We believe that it’s a targeted group, and we believe it’s probably drug related, and while it is happening in a public place like an apartment building or a hotel, we believe that they’re specifically doing it for one person or a group of people, and so in general the public is not at risk.”
The Marquis Centre and many of its tenants are well known to police, but keeping track of who’s living there can be difficult. Shelkie says that often people only live in an apartment for a short amount of time, and leave it with roommates or new tenants, so the original person who signed the lease may be long gone.
“What’s frequently the problem is that people who live this lifestyle don’t stay in any location very long, and they tend to not honour their leases,” she argues. “So we don’t know the chain of the residents that are living in these apartments.”
That means the people carrying out these attacks also may not have kept track, and the intended target may not even be living there anymore. The local RCMP don’t have any reason to believe that there is a “drug war” of sorts going on in the city, but as Shelkie points out that with the high risk lifestyle, often comes the use of firearms.
The Forensic Identification Section is currently looking the spent casings and bullet holes, and speaking with neighbours, but so far, information is admittedly “lean”. Anyone that may have seen or heard anything is encouraged to contact RCMP at 250-787-8100.