Known Okanagan criminal found dead after shooting in Princeton

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The man who police say recently died through foul play in Princeton, B.C., is known to police and at one point had ties to the Independent Soldiers gang.

Police said Thursday that it was Donald (Donnie) Lyons, 51, who was found dead around 2:30 p.m. on June 15, in the driveway of a residence along Princeton-Summerland Road in Princeton.

RCMP had attended the scene due to a report of shots fired.

“While the investigation is still in its early stages, police believe the shooting was targeted,” said Staff Sgt. Jason Smart of the Southeast District’s Major Crimes Unit.

“There is no risk to public safety at this time.”

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The Independent Soldiers gang had members in B.C. and Alberta plus relationships with crime groups across Canada.

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According to a Parole Board of Canada document Global News had, dating back to 2015, Lyons was a former high-ranking member of the Independent Soldiers gang in the Okanagan.

He was sentenced to six years in prison for cocaine trafficking, firearms and explosives-related charges.

In a search of his home and vehicle in Kelowna in December 2007, police found 19 guns, ammunition, a hand grenade, two tasers and two silencers.

After his incarceration, Lyons claimed he was doing all he could to sever ties with the notoriously violent Independent Soldiers, including removing gang tattoos.

But in 2014, after being released, he ran afoul of the law again, according to the parole board, when he was observed by police with three other men who all have criminal records.

“The three men were wearing disguises, were in the possession of weapons and were believed by police to be planning to break into a marijuana grow op,” the document read.

At the time, the parole board expressed pessimism about his ability to come out of the situation.

“You continue to struggle with the significant risk factor of your negative associates, and you have a history of being deceitful with your parole supervisors,” reads the document.

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The RCMP  is urging anyone who was travelling along Princeton-Summerland Road on June 15, between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., and has dashcam footage or spotted anything suspicious to contact the Major Crime Unit’s tip line at 1-877-987-8477.

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