UPDATED: 'Masked man' guns down gangster in Port Moody
Vancouver Police have confirmed the man gunned down Monday afternoon in Port Moody was 34-year-old Randynesh Raman Naicker of Burnaby.
Naicker, one of the founders of the Independent Soldiers gang, was well known to police. He was convicted of kidnapping a Surrey gangster in 2005 after two associates were murdered and $400,000 worth of marijuana went missing.
In 2006 Naicker was one of five men — including gang associates Jamie Bacon and former Port Moody resident Dennis Karbovanec — arrested at the Castle Fun Park in Abbotsford. At the time, Naicker was on bail for the kidnapping charge and was also charged with breaching his bail conditions. Karbovanec is now serving a life sentence for killing three of six people in a Surrey highrise in 2007, while Bacon is in prison awaiting trial in the same case.
Naicker was sentenced to five years in prison. At his 2009 parole hearing, Naicker said he wasn't worried about rival gangs targeting him, despite another resident of his halfway house being gunned down just a few months earlier.
Police believed the victim in that incident was mistakenly killed by someone looking for Naicker.
Witnesses to Monday afternoon's brazen shooting outside the Starbucks at St. Johns and Queen streets said at least one masked man dressed in black got out of a dark green SUV and shot Naicker several times at about 4:45 p.m.
"I was sitting here having a cup of chai when I heard a shooting sound," said Chandermari Bhatt, the owner of Aroma Indian restaurant, located at the bottom of the Queen Street plaza.
Bhatt said he looked up towards St. Johns and saw a masked man with a handgun shoot the victim several more times before jumping back in to the vehicle, which sped west along Spring Street.
Naicker had collapsed between his grey Infiniti SUV, which had the driver's side window shot out, and another vehicle.
Bhatt ran up the street to the victim, who had been shot in the head. Other witnesses also attempted to provide first aid but it was too late.
Maryam Heidari, who works at Aroma, said she was also sitting outside and expressed surprise at the shooting, saying she expected something like that to happen back home in Afghanistan but not in Port Moody.
And Bhatt told The Tri-City News, "Port Moody is a very nice city but today I am very scared."
Several bystanders who gathered in the plaza said they couldn't believe another shooting had happened in the quiet town.
"That's random, is it gangs?" one young man asked. "That's scary."
Gurbinder (Bin) Singh Toor, a Surrey man with links to the Dhak/Duhre gang, was shot in the parking lot of the PoMo recreation centre on the evening of May 30 as he got out of his vehicle to go to a ball hockey game. Police are looking for the driver of a black Nissan Murano SUV as a vehicle of interest in that murder.
According to a source who knew Naicker, he was trying to turn his life around and extract himself from the gang lifestyle.
"He was trying to keep his nose clean," he said. "The reason why he wanted to stay clean is because he was sick of this stuff. This is what he was afraid of."
The two deaths in less than a month are Port Moody's first murders since 2002.
VPD Const. Lindsey Houghton said it was too early to release any information on a possible suspect vehicle on the latest murder.
"Investigators need to speak to every witness possible...and because there are so many people out there who have yet to speak to investigators, the last thing we want to do is potentially plant information that may or may not be true in their heads. We need the purest version of their statement possible."
The VPD are asking anyone with information about the incident to contact the homicide unit at 604-717-2500 or, if you wish to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
-with files from Gary McKenna and Vikki Hopes