Homicide police are asking the public to help identify two men believed to be involved in a targeted West Vancouver murder.
Today (March 31), the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) confirmed the victim as Dr. Francis Este, who was attacked on March 21 in the underground parking lot of an apartment building on the 2100 block of Argyle Avenue.
At 4:48 p.m. that afternoon, West Van police responded to reports of a man suffering from serious injuries at the address.
Officers found Este suffering from multiple stab wounds, but died of his injuries at the scene despite first responders' attempts to save his life.
Witnesses reported a suspect fleeing the area on foot eastbound on Argyle Avenue, said IHIT spokesperson Sgt. Timothy Pierotti.
"IHIT has advanced the investigation and through CCTV review, two suspects have been established. Investigators are focusing on identifying both of these males and determining what role they have in this homicide," he added
"We believe this was a targeted incident that may be related to other events involving Dr. Este throughout the past few months."
The homicide team said it's continuing to work with West Vancouver police, and is pursuing all potential avenues of investigation, canvassing several areas, collecting evidence and identifying witnesses.
Victim a former Tri-Cities physician
IHIT said that Este, 55, was not known to police, but are releasing his image in hopes of building a timeline of his activities before the homicide.
Este was a retired urologist that practiced in the Tri-Cities for several years, specifically in Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam.
According to his HealthDoc.ca profile, Este diagnosed different diseases related to the genitourinary organs.
He also examined patients with ailments like prostate cancer, bladder infections and urethral stones, and administered procedures to treat any dysfunction of the urinary tract.
Patient reviews described Este as "wonderful and knowledgeable" as well as understanding of their health issues.
"From the beginning he took the time to understand my prostrate problem," reads one statement.
"He told me what I had and how to treat it completely with pills just being only a small part of the overall therapy....A doctor should care about his patient, this doctor is excellent."
"Dr. Este is the best urologist I have ever been to. Using humour and wisdom, he put my mind at ease," a patient said.
"Very efficient and direct; made accurate diagnosis and went on to treat surgically with excellent results. I am free of cancer now and grateful," added another.
Este also practiced urology at Fraser Health's Tri-Cities Community Dialysis Unit in Coquitlam.
His LinkedIn profile said he received a doctorate in medicine from the University of Alberta, and did his residency in urology and general surgery through UBC.
No weapon found, IHIT says
"Based on the evidence collected....I don't think it's a random attack," said Pierotti in an interview with Glacier Media.
"I don't think that Mr. Este had gone into that underground and randomly bumped into somebody who murdered a stranger....The person who committed this crime, we believe, intended to commit this crime."
Pierotti added that no weapon has been found, and there are no further details at this time about what happened during the attack.
Anyone with more information on Este's murder, including statements or video footage, is encouraged to call IHIT's information line at 1-877-551-4448 or send an email to email@example.com.
- with files from Kyle Balzer, Tri-City News