Multiple bylaw complaints made in Penticton neighbourhood where shooting victims lived

The City of Penticton received six separate calls for service in relation to a range of bylaw complaints in the same neighbourhood where Monday's four shooting victims lived, a municipal employee says.

Anthony Haddad, director of development services, said the bylaw complaints were made over the last three to four years.

Each call for service, which Haddad described as a file, came with multiple phone calls. 

"The complaints received related to wood burning smoke, landscaping and on-site drainage related matters," said Haddad. "[They] also related to home-based business operations without a business licence. All of these issues were followed up and dealt with by our city bylaw staff."

On Tuesday, 68-year-old former city worker John Brittain, was charged with three counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder after he turned himself in to police.

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All of the shooting victims, Barry and Susan Wonch, Darlene Knippleberg and Rudi Winter, lived on the same block of Cornwall Drive, near Katherine Brittain, John Brittain's estranged wife.

Three of the victims were shot in the neighbourhood where they lived and the fourth was shot in a second location about 10 minutes away near Lakeview Street and Heales Avenue, across from where Brittain was renting a suite. 

Motive unknown

The motive for the killings is not known.

Haddad's comments, however, show there was some tension in the neighbourhood. He was not able to confirm who made the bylaw complaints, only that they all came from the same area.

"It isn't uncommon to see a number of complaints around a certain issue," he added.

Unsuspecting landlord

Residents of the small South Okanagan tourist haven are still processing the tragedy.

Brittain's former landlord of five years, Anthony Friesen, said he felt disbelief when he heard what Brittain is alleged to have done.

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"I would never have thought that he would ever be capable of doing something like that," said Friesen. 

He described Brittain as a good tenant, always paying rent on time and treating his suite well. 

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Sounds of gunshots

Brittain's landlord was replacing a living room window behind the building he rents out on Lakview Street when he heard the first gunshot. He says he didn't know what had happened until he heard two more gunshots and his cousin called him to say he had heard about a shooting in the area.

"I went out and walked around and then I saw the dead man lying on the ground and realized what had happened," said Friesen.

One of the victims had been killed right across the street from his building. 

"It just looked like the man had fallen out of the tree. He's just laying there on the ground."

It wasn't until later that day, Friesen discovered Brittain had turned himself in.