An Island-wide police manhunt continues today for three suspects involved in a drive-by shooting in Sooke that left two men with gunshot wounds.
Both victims, who are in their twenties and from Sooke, were taken to hospital, one of whom has since been released with a gunshot wound to his bicep. The other remains in stable condition with gunshot wounds to his torso, police say.
The incident occurred at the bottom of Ella Road, a residential neighbourhood on the west end of Sooke around 9:17 p.m. Tuesday.
This was a continuation of an earlier dispute between two groups, said Sooke RCMP Staff Sgt. Jeff McArthur, who pointed out this was not a random event, but a targeted shooting.
“The information we have is that there was a history between these two groups. There was some kind of interaction … the suspects shot from the vehicle and then left,” McArthur said.
One of the suspects is identified as Joshua Nicholas Lafleur, 25, from the Sooke and Langford area. He’s described as white, 6’0 tall, 190 lbs., brown hair, green eyes, and is considered armed and dangerous.
He is also wanted on several outstanding warrants unrelated to this incident.
Lafleur and two other suspects were last seen in a grey 2003 Kia Magentis four-door sedan with Saskatchewan plates 404 JZB, but was later revealed that the suspects changed the plates on the vehicle, which was stolen from Langford.
All of the individuals involved, including the victims, are known to police.
“We don’t think there is any danger to the public at this point, and we’re asking for the public’s assistance to provide us with information about the incident, any sightings of the vehicle or the suspect,” McArthur said.
The vehicle is known to have travelled west on West Coast Road, so police are alerting people in Shirley, Jordan River and Port Renfrew to be on a lookout.
Ella Road is not a problem neighbourhood, and is considered a “beautiful residential area” in Sooke, McArthur said.
“It’s very shocking for us. More so for the community, especially that it happened in a residential area in Sooke, not somewhere out of the way,” he said, adding that the Sooke and West Shore RCMP, along with Island District General Investigations Section are looking into whether this incident is gang related.
People involved in this incident are known to be in the drug trade business, McArthur said.
“We do have drug trafficking happening here, but we’re not dealing with an increase in drug activity,” he said.
Anyone who spots the suspects or the vehicle is asked to call 911and not approach the individuals.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Sooke RCMP at 250-642-5241 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.