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When we think of bad behavior in ski towns in the summer, we think of drunk partiers and bears breaking into cars, not fatal shootings. Which is why this weekend’s gun violence at Whistler Blackcomb, B.C. is so disturbing. The fact that it took place over the border in Canada, where gun violence is far less common than it is here in the States, makes it even more shocking.
The shooting took place on Sunday at the base of Whistler Mountain behind the Sundial and Pan Pacific hotels, sending summer visitors scattering and hiding in local businesses. Resort operations shut down immediately, including the nearby Fitzsimmons Express chair and Whistler Mountain Gondola, but later resumed to allow hikers and other guests enjoying the mountain to download and evacuate the village.
A police investigation is underway in Whistler Village. Please avoid the delineated area in Skier’s Plaza. The RCMP has confirmed that there is no danger to the public. Whistler Blackcomb lifts will remain closed for the rest of the day.
— Tourism Whistler (@GoWhistler) July 24, 2022
Two people died in the shooting, one of whom was identified as Meninder Dhaliwal, a member of the Lower Mainland-based Brothers Keepers gang. The other man, Satindera Gill, a friend of Dhaliwal, was allegedly not associated with the gang. Two suspects were arrested while fleeing the area on Highway 99 shortly after.
Seattle mom Serena Carlson told the Vancouver Sun that she was getting ice cream at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory with her husband and three kids when she heard “a ton of gunshots and saw people running.”
They ran into the candy shop and an employee ushered them to the back of the store, where they waited for the all clear.
“Fifteen of us were in a very sweaty hallway for about an hour waiting to see if we would be okay,” said Carlson.
“We believe this to be a targeted incident,” said Sgt. Timothy Pierotti of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team. Dhaliwal, whose brother was the target of a hit in Vancouver last year, was known to police.
“Though this was a brazen daytime shooting in a busy village, there is not believed to be any further risk to the public, thanks to the quick response of the Sea-to-Sky RCMP members,” he said. While gun violence in Canada is still pretty rare, incidences are on the rise. According to Statistics Canada, numbers have doubled over the last decade. Unlike the U.S., which has had trouble getting support for gun control legislation, Canada banned assault-style weapons in 2020 and introduced a bill in May that would effectively cause a national freeze on buying, selling, transferring, and importing handguns. The new legislation is expected to pass Parliament and be enacted this fall.