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Victim in Langley Sportsplex shooting was ex-MMA fighter with ties to UN gang

Click to play video: 'Metro Vancouver police concerned by ‘brazen’ gang shootings' Metro Vancouver police concerned by ‘brazen’ gang shootings
Leaders from Metro Vancouver's largest police forces came together to condemn a growing gang war after three murders in six days. In the most recent case, Todd Gouwenberg was assassinated outside a Langley sportsplex Wednesday. Police say Gouwenberg had a 20-year involvement with gangs – Apr 22, 2021

Police have identified the victim in Wednesday’s fatal shooting in Langley.

Police said Thursday that Todd Gouwenberg, 46, was shot and killed outside the Langley Sportsplex on 91A Avenue just after 9 a.m.

Insp. Michelle Tansey said Gouwenberg was “part of the gang environment in the Lower Mainland.”

Manny Mann of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of B.C. said Gouwenberg’s involvement in gangs spanned almost 20 years, and he was connected to the United Nations gang.

 

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Tansey said police are in the early stages of their investigation and have yet to determine a motive, but did say they believe the shooting was targeted.

“Because of the victim’s longtime activity and associations, those motivations could be connected to something decades ago or they could be linked to something much more recent,” Mann said.

Read more: 20-year-old man dead in brazen daylight shooting at busy Coquitlam park

Police have linked a grey Dodge pickup truck, which was later found torched in the 1200-block of Riverside Drive in Port Coquitlam, to the shooting.

Click to play video: 'History of gang conflict leading to current violence in Metro Vancouver' History of gang conflict leading to current violence in Metro Vancouver
History of gang conflict leading to current violence in Metro Vancouver – Apr 22, 2021

They are looking for any dashcam video that was shot at the Sportsplex as early as 8:30 a.m., or on the route between Langley and Port Coquitlam, including the Golden Ears Bridge or Lougheed Highway.

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Mann said there have been 15 gang-related homicides in the region so far this year.

Gouwenberg was a former mixed martial arts athlete. According to MMA website Sherdog, the Langley native had a record of nine wins and five losses in 14 pro bouts between 2003 and 2009.

His death was the third deadly public shooting in Metro Vancouver in recent days.

Read more: Shooting in Vancouver’s Coal Harbour leaves one man dead

On Saturday night Harpreet Singh Dhaliwal, a man with known gang ties, was shot outside a restaurant in Vancouver’s Coal Harbour.

Bailey McKinney was gunned down near the basketball courts in Coquitlam’s busy town centre park on Monday.

— With files from Amy Judd

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