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Man linked to Burnaby double murder, attempted murder shot dead in Maple Ridge
A man wanted in connection with three shootings in Burnaby was shot and killed by police in Maple Ridge Wednesday.
Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) spokesperson Sgt. Jennifer Pound said Angus David Mitchell, 26, died in hospital, hours after being surrounded by police near 132nd Avenue where a full-fledged gun battle took place prior to his arrest.
A woman spotted Mitchell's green Ford Aerostar van around 11 a.m. Wednesday, one hour after Burnaby RCMP issued an alert asking the public to keep an eye out for it.
Plainclothes officers from Ridge Meadows RCMP kept the van under surveillance after confirming Mitchell was inside, while other officers shut down streets.
Mitchell shot at the officers with his high-powered rifle but did not attempt to flee. No officers were injured.
Mitchell was wanted for an attempted murder Tuesday night and was a person of interest in a double murder at a South Burnaby sushi restaurant on Sunday, May 27.
At press conference Wednesday morning, Burnaby RCMP Insp. Tim Shields called Mitchell "armed and extremely dangerous" and warned people who had been in conflict with him before to be vigilant.
On Tuesday evening, a 51-year-old Burnaby man returned home from shopping and was shot from close range on the street in front of his home in the 4400-block of Gilpin Crescent, Shields said. The man survived and is in hospital in serious condition.
Mitchell was the suspect in the attempted murder and was described as a former tenant of the victim. He had been evicted six months ago from the landlord's rental property in Vancouver and the two men have had no contact since then.
"He is obviously unstable and unpredictable at this point and it's for that reason public safety is paramount," Shields said at the time.
He was believed to be armed with a high-powered Mossberg Maverick hunting rifle with a scope and living out of his van. Mitchell purchased the rifle legally in B.C. sometime in the last six months.
Mitchell was also a "person of interest" in the double homicide in South Burnaby on the evening of May 27. In that incident, 36-year-old Burnaby resident Huong (Andy) Tran and a woman were shot to death at Tran's Royal Oak Sushi House on Royal Oak Avenue near Kingsway. Police have not yet established a motive for the murders.
While the forensics work from the murder scene has yet to be completed, there appear to be links between the two incidents, said Pound.
"Just geographically, Burnaby doesn't see a lot of these kinds of crimes," Pound said. "It looks like it might be a similar weapon but again, forensics will have to shine a light on that."
She said she couldn't go into any more specifics, but "they do appear to be linked at this time."
Mitchell was a former security guard who had worked in that industry "for some time," Shields said. He appears to have had conflict with former employers and coworkers, and Burnaby RCMP had been in touch with those people, as well as former roommates to warn them about "their own potential jeopardy."
While he was not known to police, Mitchell has been on police radar in the past, Shields said. There was at least one incident in the past six months in which Mitchell was the subject of a complaint to police but he was not charged with a crime.
Pound said the attempted murder Tuesday put Mitchell on IHIT's radar in its murder investigation. "We do have a lot of resources involved in this, a lot of jurisdictions are working together on this."
On Wednesday the name of the woman killed was not yet being released as medical records were needed to confirm her identity, she said.
As for Mitchell's death, "These situations are tragic. Nobody in law enforcement likes to see this type of situation end up in gun fire," said Ridge Meadows RCMP Supt. Dave Walsh.
"Not a happy day for us and not the resolution we were looking for."
Vancouver Police have taken charge of the Maple Ridge scene and will investigate the shooting.
~ with files from Monisha Martins and Phil Melnychuk