"He wanted nothing more than to be a solid and positive role model for his younger sibling and little cousins."
A new memorial of flowers and a wreath of pine sits firmly on the fence by the basketball courts in Town Centre Park in memory of Bailey McKinney.
The 20-year-old man was said to be turning his life around, according to a family friend's description on a GoFundMe page from April 23, 2021 — four days after he was gunned down in a brazen targeted Coquitlam shooting.
McKinney was hanging around near the courts on April 19, 2021, but around 6:30 p.m., and with the sun still up, he was killed from what witnesses said was a single shot.
One year later, not much is still known about the investigation, including if an arrest has been made or if charges were laid.
The shooting was believed to be linked to drugs and Lower Mainland gang conflict at the time, and happened two weeks after a man was found bleeding in the street the morning of Easter Sunday after he was shot near Good Neighbour Park.
It was also the fourth Coquitlam shooting of nine in total for 2021.
The Tri-City News has reached out to the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) for comment, but they have yet to respond as of this publication (April 19).
We will follow up with more potential details if and when they become available.
SWARM OF POLICE
RCMP were called shortly after the shooting took place and before IHIT was called in to take lead on McKinney's case.
Then, a large police presence that included nearly two dozen vehicles arrived, officers taped off the area near the basketball courts and an ambulance crew performed CPR on McKinney in an attempt to revive him.
Moments later, a stretcher was wheeled to the waiting ambulance and he was ultimately taken to hospital.
However, an update from IHIT the next day confirmed McKinney was declared dead at the scene.
"To have such a brazen incident in a public park at 6:30 in the evening when there’s so many people around is very concerning," said Coquitlam RCMP's then acting officer-in-charge Insp. Andrew Martin.
After the victim was removed from the scene, officers were seen interviewing bystanders; some searched nearby washrooms and bushes.
In hopes of finding a suspect, police deployed several patrol teams in the days that followed — including uniformed crime units on bikes and ATVs — to canvass Town Centre Park.
As well, Mounties continued to try and speak with potential witnesses to the daylight shooting.
WHO IS BAILEY McKINNEY?
IHIT investigators say McKinney was targeted for murder, but the motive was not clear and remains unknown today.
However, the special B.C. police division said he had "conflict" with certain individuals that could be responsible for the homicide.
"We believe these people had reason to harm Bailey," said then IHIT spokesperson Sgt. Frank Jang, noting McKinney also had a history with police.
According to online B.C. court services, McKinney faced a dozen charges in connection to a Coquitlam incident in September 2019 and was due in provincial court appearances in Surrey and Port Coquitlam in May 2021 .
- Three counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking
- Two counts of possession of a firearm with ammunition
- Two counts of possession of a firearm without a licence or registration
- Unlawful confinement or imprisonment
- Assault with a weapon
- Uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm
- Use of a firearm to commit an indictable offence
DID SOMEBODY SEE SOMETHING?
The area where McKinney was killed is a highly populated area where, if good weather permits it, Coquitlam neighbours can be seen out and about.
The basketball court is considered one of the busier areas of Town Centre Park, and nearby includes a skateboard park, playground and beach volleyball courts.
A video shared to the Tri-City News by a reader on this day last year showed first responders arriving at the park while walkers strolled the path that connects the nearby parking lot to Lafarge Lake, families sitting on blankets spread on the grass and kids frolicking in the adjacent playground.
"We believe there were maybe 40 to 50 people in that area. And when the shots rang out, a lot of them scattered," explained Jang a day after the shooting.
"We need to know what you saw. There are some that may have known the victim and even some that may have known the shooter."
The GoFundMe campaign garnered $10,000 to support McKinney's family and to help pay for funeral costs.
Anyone who may have information about McKinney or his murder is encouraged to call IHIT at 1-877-551-4448 or email email@example.com, anonymous contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or go online to www.solvecrime.ca.
- with files from Janis Cleugh and Mario Bartel, Tri-City News, and Stefan Labbé, Glacier Media