WHISTLER, British Columbia – Residents of this resort north of Vancouver were reeling after the town's first killing in 30 years — a shooting in plain view of a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer.
Mayor Ken Melamed told theVancouver Province that the killing, which occurred as nightclubs were closing early Saturday, was "of grave concern," while a town council member called it an isolated case.
As patrons emptied out of the clubs and milled about Village Square, a fight broke out between two groups, said Cpl. Dale Carr of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team. One man pulled a gun and shot another in front of a police officer and his police dog.
The officer and dog chased and caught the suspect, identified as a 27-year-old Surrey resident who had been known to police. He was charged with second-degree murder, and was scheduled to appear Monday in North Vancouver Provincial Court.
The killing shocked the community of Whistler, known for outdoor sports such as skiing and snowboarding.
For years, Whistler has teamed up with police agencies from the Lower Mainland to maintain a strong presence in the village, especially on weekends and holidays, when the population can swell to tens of thousands.
"This level of violence is really a one-off," Carr said. "It's highly unusual to happen here in Whistler."
The victim, identified as 26-year-old Michael George Boutros of Coquitlam, was a graduate of British Columbia Institute of Technology and was working to start his own company, brother Elias Boutros said.
His mother, May Boutros, described her son as "wonderful, loving, caring, handsome, hard-worker."
Clubs in Whistler set up a system to warn each other about potential troublemakers after a stabbing incident in 2003. Some clubs also use metal detectors to check for weapons.
Council member Nancy Wilhelm-Morden called the killing an "isolated incident," saying: "I am personally convinced that Whistler is safe."