LANGLEY, B.C. - A series of deadly shootings that police have said involved "transient victims" in Langley, B.C., started about six hours before RCMP issued a cellphone alert warning the public, by which time the alleged gunman had already been killed.
While police have said they are working to confirm if the victims were homeless, the attack is also drawing calls from advocates to reduce discrimination against the vulnerable population and increase safety.
Two people were killed in the attacks and two others were seriously injured before the police fatally shot the suspect.
The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) continues to investigate with the support of the Langley RCMP and the Integrated Forensic Identification Section (IFIS).
The suspect is being identified as 28-year old Jordan Daniel Goggin. Jordan Daniel Goggin is from Surrey and was known to police but had non-criminal contact. Jordan Daniel Goggin was engaged by police and shot where he died at scene.
Sgt. David Lee of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team defended the timing of the alert after the last shooting occurred, saying it was issued when police were able to tie the events together.
"The alert was done at the appropriate time as the information became known to us and a proper risk assessment was done," Lee said.
Police outlined the series of attacks that spanned four different scenes in both Langley City and the Township of Langley over nearly six hours.
The first shooting took place around midnight at Cascades Casino and a woman was critically injured. At 3 a.m., the shooter proceeded to Creekstone Place, a supportive housing facility for people transitioning out of homelessness, where a male was killed. At 5 a.m., the gunman went to the Langley City bus loop, where a second male was killed, and at 5:45 a.m., he shot another man in the leg near the Langley Bypass, Lee said.
That's where police intercepted the suspect, fatally shooting him.
At 6:20 a.m., a blaring alert rang out on cellphones across Metro Vancouver, saying police were at the scenes of several shootings. At that time, RCMP said they were unsure if the shooter was alone and warned people to stay out of the downtown core of the city.
A second alert was issued around 7:20 a.m. saying the suspect was "no longer a threat," and police later said a man they arrested was thought to be responsible for the shootings.
A third phone alert was issued around 3:30 p.m., to announce the cancellation of the previous warnings.
Despite the alerts, a woman who worked at a gym across from one of the shooting scenes said officers never knocked on the door to warn of any danger.
Kathy Eiriksson was working reception at the Fitness Unlimited Athletic Club, when she said she saw about a dozen police cars pull into a parking lot across the street near a bus loop and thrift shops at around 5 a.m.
Officers had their rifles out and two ambulances were also on scene, she said.
It was more than an hour before the first phone alert rang out, and most police had left the area by then, she said.
"It was a bit shocking," she said of learning the details.
“Police never came to talk to us or say anything at all,” she said.
Commuters were also getting on and off buses at the bus loop, she said.
Lee said the suspect is known to them, but it’s unclear if any of that history could have led to what happened.
Police have not publicly identified him or the victims.
RCMP Chief Supt. Ghalib Bhayani said investigators don't know the motive behind the shooting or if there was a relationship between the shooter and the victims.
"While the investigation is ongoing, all indications are that there was nobody else involved and there's no further ongoing threat to public safety," he told a press conference.
The initial alert had described the suspect as a Caucasian man with dark hair, wearing brown overalls and a camouflage T-shirt with a red logo on the right sleeve.
Yellow police tape surrounded a sandwich shop and a parking lot near the scene of the final shootings Monday morning. A black tent with LMD Forensics on the side had been set up over one of the crime scenes.
Outside the Spence Diamonds store at the Langley Centre nearby, the windshield and driver’s window of an unmarked black police SUV were peppered with bullet holes.
A white four-door sedan with its licence plates covered up was parked next to the forensic tent a short distance from the black SUV. In their first alert, police had warned that the suspect was associated with a white car.
Not far from there orange cones surrounded a blue sleeping bag and a bicycle, while a pair of shoes and a piece of clothing were taped off in the middle of the street.
Langley City Mayor Val van den Broek became emotional as she addressed a press conference Monday.
“We’re strong, we’ll get through this,” she said. “We need to be kinder and we need to work together.”
She encouraged anyone affected by the shootings to seek counselling.
Van den Broek also said she hopes the attack shows the need for increased federal funding and co-operation between all levels of government to improve care for people who are homeless.
"We need to look at different ways of making sure that we do take care of everybody in our community," she said.
"Maybe this is the catalyst for moving forward."
While no motive has been identified, two advocates who work with people who are homeless in Vancouver said community members experience stigma and violence.
Ryan Sudds said there’s a “dehumanization of people who are living on the streets or in parks.”
Fiona York said British Columbia has about 9,000 people who are without homes.
Langley’s homeless population is about 200, she said in an interview, although the estimate predates COVID-19 and is likely higher. Van den Broek put the number at 300.
The numbers also don’t always reflect the situation on the ground, because of the transient nature of the population, York said.
“It's really hard to count people who are homeless and so these numbers are usually quite low,” York said.
Homeless people face discrimination and feel they are looked at and treated differently, she said.
“I think there's always that stigma that exists against people who are homeless and a blaming, or a fault-finding and assumptions that people are homeless because of their own fault.”
Langley Township Mayor Jack Froese thanked police in a statement.
“Our hearts go out to the family and friends of those effected by this senseless act of violence in our Township of Langley and the neighbouring City of Langley," the statement says.
Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth made a statement after 4 p.m.
Join Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, for a media availability regarding today's incidents in Langley and Langley Township. https://t.co/nv1cMy8fDm— BC Government News (@BCGovNews) July 25, 2022
Green Leader Sonia Furstenau said in a tweet that reports that the attack may have targeted homeless people were "disturbing."
My heart goes out to those affected in the #Langley shooting. The reports that the perpetrator was targeting homeless people are very disturbing.— Sonia Furstenau (@SoniaFurstenau) July 25, 2022
We’ve seen the discourse around homelessness in BC veer into fear mongering and the dehumanizing of some of our most vulnerable. 1/ https://t.co/JVkVVMxqZh
"Words matter — as legislators we need to talk about public safety in a way that makes everyone safer and strengthens communities. To ensure that what we do lifts all British Columbians up and leaves nobody behind."
Prime Minister Trudeau expressed his shock and sadness over the incident.
I’m horrified by the news that came out of Langley, BC yesterday. My heart breaks for the victims’ loved ones and communities, and my thoughts are with the people who were injured – we’re wishing you a speedy recovery. This violence has no place in any of our communities.— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) July 26, 2022
The Independent Investigations Office (IIO) is investigating the police shooting.