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‘A much-loved employee of the city’ says Vancouver mayor of shooting victim

WATCH: There are more questions than answers tonight about the murder of a Vancouver city worker in Burnaby that raised red flags across Metro Vancouver. Rumina Daya has the story.

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson says the victim in a shooting in Burnaby on Wednesday afternoon was a “much-loved employee of the city.”

Hanif Jessa, 53, was shot in a vehicle outside his home in Burnaby, in the 7900-block of Wickham Place, on Wednesday.

Robertson says Jessa had been working at the city for 25 years.

“A lot of people impacted at the city who worked closely with him and are grieving this loss,” says Robertson.

Jessa was the City of Vancouver night shift street-cleaning superintendent based out of the Manitoba Works Yard.

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He leaves behind his wife and two children.

Jessa was not known to police, but police believe this was a targeted attack.

The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) says they have no suspects in custody and no charges laid at this time, although they are investigating a number of leads. They also say the public is not believed to be at risk. “There is no specific suspect in this investigation,” says Sgt. Stephanie Ashton with IHIT.

WATCH: Sgt. Stephanie Ashton from IHIT holds a press conference following yesterday’s shooting outside of a Burnaby home

Investigators are speaking with a number of witnesses and IHIT is working closely with Burnaby RCMP to determine a definitive motive for the attack.

Following the shooting on Wednesday, Vancouver Police stepped up security at four sites around the city.

“[RCMP in Burnaby] also informed us that information was existing that there was a potential threat to other people in the city,” said Vancouver Police Chief Adam Palmer. “Based on that information, the VPD took swift action and we deployed officers to four different City of Vancouver sites – City Hall, National Yards, Manitoba Yards, and the Crossroads facility. We wanted to ensure that all city staff were safe. There was no information of any risk to the general public, only potentially to some city staff members.”

“As the day went on that information changed, which led us to downgrade and realize that there’s no longer a threat to anybody at the city.”

Robertson said there is currently no risk to City of Vancouver employees. However, Port Moody Police confirmed they were made aware, on Wednesday, of a possible safety issue for two of their city’s employees. “As such, steps were taken to safeguard their well-being,” Cst Luke van Winkel said in a statement. “As the evening progressed, we were made aware that the threat had subsided and the employees were no longer in danger. As a precaution, Police had a marked unit at city works for the morning until other employees could be made aware that there were no safety issues.”

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Robertson says there is nothing to suggest the shooting had anything to do with any issues at work.

“I can’t speak to the issues with human resources at the city,” says Robertson. “There’s obviously challenges at every large employer between staff that arise from time to time. This was a long-time employee who had enormous support.”

“The city does its best to be a great employer and to be sure all the labour relations and HR issues are dealt with very progressively. I think the city has a really good track record on that front.”

Palmer said the general public should have no concerns in regards to safety in Vancouver.

“This was a very specific incident that dealt with a very specific set of circumstances in another jurisdiction,” he says.

IHIT says it may be several days before any further updates are provided.

Anyone with information regarding this investigation can call the IHIT tipline by calling 1-877-551-IHIT (4448) or email at ihittipline@rcmp-grc.gc.ca .

If you wish to remain anonymous provide your anonymous tip information on the web at solvecrime.ca or by phone at 1-800-222-8477.