Anti-gang and gun violence advocates are concerned about the growing trend of young people being involved in high profile shootings.
On Wednesday, IHIT announced first degree murder charges laid against 21-year-old Tanner Fox and 23-year-old Jose Lopez in connection with the murder of Ripudaman Singh Malik.
On Monday, 24-year old Gursimran Sahota and 20-year old Tanvir Khakh were charged in connection with the shooting deaths of Satindera Gill and Meninder Dhaliwal in Whistler.
Police killed 28-year-old Jordan Goggin following a shooting rampage in Langley that left two others dead and one in critical condition.
“This is a trend around the world, where you are seeing younger people getting involved in the gang and thug life,” KidsPlay Foundation founder Kal Dosanjh said.
“There is a sense of them feeling disenfranchised. They are looking for an anchor. And when they don’t find that anchor it is typical teenage angst. It leads to this destructive behaviour.”
Of the five men involved in the shootings, only Goggin was was previously unknown to police.
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All levels of government and community groups have invested millions of dollars over the past decade in an attempt to keep young people away from violence.
KidsPlay holds sports tournaments, conferences, and other projects for the youth community to learn about the opportunities they can seize within life.
Dosanjh’s work is motivated by a belief their work will allow young people to discover the potential they have within themselves to reach greater heights in any aspect of life.
The challenge is replacing the instant gratification of crime life with the feeling of reaching potential.
“It is quick money. That instant gratification. On the other side they also like the acceptance. The identity. That brotherhood,” Dosanjh said.
Doug Spencer, a retired member of the Vancouver police gang squad and a gang educator with Odd Squad Productions has been using reality-based film work, presentations and peer-to-peer work to educate youth, encourage positive goal setting and healthy choices around risky behaviour.
Spencer said many of the gangsters he has seen have an irrational vision of making millions of dollars without facing the consequences, adding most violent criminals end up arrested or dead.
“This is the end of the road you are going to get. Kids are just not figuring it out. What goes around, comes around,” Spencer said.