Charges laid in gangland murder
Three men are facing charges for a brazen gang-style shooting in Kelowna that killed Red Scorpion kingpin Jonathan Bacon and paralyzed a young woman from Maple Ridge.
Charged with first degree murder are Jujhar Singh Khun-Khun, 25, of Surrey, Michael Kerry Hunter Jones, 25, of Gibsons, and Jason Thompson McBride, 37, of North Vancouver, police announced Monday.
There was one other suspect, now dead, who police would not name.
The three were arrested Friday and also charged with the attempted murders of Hells Angel Larry Amero, now jailed in Montreal, Independent Soldier James Riach, Maple Ridge’s Leah Hadden-Watt, as well as Lyndsey Black.
Police allege Bacon, Amero and Riach were in Kelowna that weekend as members of a recently formed criminal alliance known as the Wolf Pack.
“This was a targeted, organized attack by the highest level of organized crime in our province,” Chief Supt. Dan Malo, with the RCMP’s Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit, said in Delta.
“This was not a contact that was unplanned.”
Hadden-Watt is now a paraplegic, he added.
She was injured by a bullet when three masked gunmen fired at five people in a white Porsche Cayenne in the parking lot of the Delta Grand Hotel on Aug. 14, 2011. The bullet shattered a vertebra, leaving her paralyzed.
Hadden-Watt is the niece of Mike “Spike” Hadden, who runs Haney Hawgs, a motorcycle shop in Hammond.
Hadden is believed to be a full-patch member of the Hells Angels Haney chapter, which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary.
“This violent incident rocked the City of Kelowna in an act so brazen that it might have been mistaken for a bad action movie,” said Malo.
“However for the victims and the members of the public there that day, it was all too real.”
All three men have been remanded in custody.
“We were all appalled by the public nature of this reckless and violent act,” Malo said.
“It reminds us all that organized crime has little regard for public safety. They have shown us all that if they are determined to commit murder they will do so and it does not matter who is in the way.”
Code-named E-Nitrogen, the investigation involved more than 80 officers at its height.
Malo added the Bacon shooting was one event in a “cascade of violence,” which began with the fatal shooting of Gurmit Dhak in October 2010 in a parking lot at Burnaby’s Metrotown shopping centre.
“There have been several homicides that have occurred through the last 18 months, with the flashpoint being that of Gurmit Dhak, that caused groups to align, groups that we had not seen align in the past, and a sustained conflict among those gangs,” Malo said.
Khun-Khun was critically injured in that shooting, and was also shot at in Surrey one month after Bacon’s killing.
Since Bacon’s death, several other high-profile gangsters have been killed or targeted, including Sandip Duhre, who was gunned down in a Vancouver restaurant in January 2012.
Sukh Dhak died in November 2012 after being shot in the lobby of the Executive Inn Hotel and Conference Centre in Burnaby. His bodyguard, Thomas Mantel, was also killed.
The recent arrests and murders of high-profile gangsters doesn’t mean gang activity will stop or even abate in B.C., warned police.
“It would be naive to think that the removal of some central figures in the recent rash of violent activity will mean the end of it,” said Assistant RCMP Commissioner Wayne Rideout, referring to police efforts as a sustained campaign against organized crime.
“This is going to go on for some time and we are doing everything we can to reduce that risk and to identity and arrest and disrupt those involved.”