RCMP in Nanaimo say three suspects arrested in relation to a fatal shooting in Nanaimo on Thursday have ties to the ongoing Lower Mainland gang conflict but have been released from custody.
On Thursday around 3:30 p.m. PT a shooting was reported in the parking lot parking lot of the Rock City Centre shopping plaza and the victim was found dead inside a parked vehicle.
Several arrests were made at the Best Western Hotel on Metral Drive in connection with the violence, police said at the time.
On Saturday investigators said the violence is part of a series of shootings that have occurred across the Lower Mainland this year.
"We believe this event has a nexus to the ongoing gang-conflict and violence currently plaguing a number of Lower Mainland communities," said Acting Inspector Donovan Tait with Nanaimo RCMP in a release.
B.C.'s anti-gang agency issued a public safety warning on May 18, naming 11 men who range in age from 21 to 40 and are allegedly connected to the ongoing spike in gang conflict in the province's Lower Mainland.
Police said tips from the public around the shooting helped police locate and arrest the suspects.
"These witness reports had a direct impact on our ability to take these individuals into custody quickly and safely," said Tait.
Tait said that despite the release of the suspects, pending further investigation, police in Nanaimo "are committed to keeping Nanaimo and its citizens safe. The continued cooperation from the public is critical to have these perpetrators held accountable."
Police seize SUV
Investigators have seized a pearl-white 2003 Cadillac Escalade SUV that was observed around Nanaimo in the days prior to the shooting.
Police are searching video-surveillance footage from commercial properties and residences in the area. They are also seeking any witnesses to the shooting who have not yet contacted Nanaimo RCMP.
Investigators are looking for tips about a Caucasian woman who was seen walking toward the Jumping Jiminy's Playground & Café around the time of the shooting.