83-year-old Chilliwack man charged with killing neighbours, aged 58 and 67

Numerous police vehicles were in the mobile home park on Thursday afternoon in response to the homicides. (Jean-Marc Poirier/CBC - image credit)
Numerous police vehicles were in the mobile home park on Thursday afternoon in response to the homicides. (Jean-Marc Poirier/CBC - image credit)

An 83-year-old man has been charged after what police are describing as an "incident between neighbours" that left two people dead in Chilliwack on Wednesday.

Officers were called to a mobile home park in Chilliwack on Sept. 13 at about 7:45 p.m., to a report of shots fired.

Chilliwack RCMP said two people were found dead in a home and another man was arrested nearby.

On Friday, police issued a press release saying that Robert Freeman of Chilliwack has been charged with two counts of second-degree murder.

John Kavaloff, 58, and Valerie Smith, 67 were killed during an "incident between neighbours" on Sept. 13 in Chilliwack, B.C., according to police.
John Kavaloff, 58, and Valerie Smith, 67 were killed during an "incident between neighbours" on Sept. 13 in Chilliwack, B.C., according to police.

John Kavaloff, 58, and Valerie Smith, 67 were killed during an 'incident between neighbours' on Sept. 13 in Chilliwack, B.C., according to police. (Submitted by Integrated Homicide Investigation Team)

The victims in the shooting have been identified as 58-year old John Kavaloff and 67-year old Valerie Smith of Chilliwack. Police say they're releasing their names in hopes of advancing the investigation, which is being led by the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT).

IHIT Sgt. Timothy Pierotti said the shooting appears to be an "isolated incident between neighbours."

Police are asking anyone with information to contact IHIT.

Neighbours 'shocked' by violence

Residents say they are in disbelief that a violent act like the police described could have happened in their usually peaceful neighbourhood.

"The community was shocked. That was a horrible thing to happen, and we just can't believe that it would happen in our neighbourhood," said Luan Bernhardt, who lives down the street from where the police found the victims' bodies.

"It's been a really wonderful place to live and now I think a lot of people are really shook up about the violence."

Luan Bernhardt, pictured outside her home in Chilliwack, B.C. on Sept. 15, 2023, says both victims and the suspect were friendly people, and the neighbourhood is "shocked" by the violence that took place.
Luan Bernhardt, pictured outside her home in Chilliwack, B.C. on Sept. 15, 2023, says both victims and the suspect were friendly people, and the neighbourhood is "shocked" by the violence that took place.

Luan Bernhardt, pictured outside her home in Chilliwack, B.C. on Sept. 15, 2023, says both victims and the suspect were friendly people, and the neighbourhood is 'shocked' by the violence that took place. (Jon Hernandez/CBC)

Melody Spedding, who lives next door to where police say they found the victims' bodies, says she saw police arrest the suspect through her kitchen window.

Spedding said she has been shaken-up and there has been a steady police presence in the neighbourhood since a shooting in the area on Sept. 5 that sent one person to hospital in critical condition.

"I locked my doors, and took my dogs into my bedroom and locked the door, and stayed away from the windows just in case," Spedding said.

Bernhardt and other neighbours told CBC News both victims were nice people and would wave on their way to pick-up the mail or walk their dog.

Freeman was also a polite and slightly withdrawn neighbour, Bernhardt added, who had lived in the neighbourhood for "a long time."

Neither Spedding or Bernhardt could fathom how one neighbour allegedly killed two others.

"It's a good bunch of people that live here and it's very shocking to know someone would take such extreme measures over a conflict with the neighbours," said Spedding.