Richmond RCMP have a suspect in custody following a shooting Wednesday night at the Riverside Banquet Hall that sent four people to hospital.
Police apprehended the suspect without incident not far from the banquet hall at 14500 River Rd. roughly five minutes after arriving on scene.
Three of the shooting victims were rushed to Vancouver General Hospital and another to Richmond Hospital with varying degrees of injury from minor to critical.
They were part of a group attending a union gathering of about 150 people for longshoremen who had just joined the union, according to one of the managers of the hall who refused to identify himself.
Early reports also said the event was a birthday celebration.
“It is the belief of the investigators that this is a targeted event,” said RCMP Insp. Bryon Massie who addressed media at the scene late Wednesday evening.
“There is no information … to suggest that this is related to any of the events that have occurred over the Lower Mainland in the last week.”
Those attending the Wednesday night event were taken by transit bus to RCMP headquarters for questioning.
A police roadblock along River Road kept traffic away from the scene until Thursday morning as investigators combed the area.
RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Peter Thiessen said at a press conference outside the banquet hall later in the day that they had yet to determine a motive for the shooting.
This is not the first time the banquet hall has been the scene of gun violence.
Gangster Kuljit (Kelly) Buttar was gunned down at a wedding there on Dec. 22, 2001.
Four others were wounded in the spray of bullets at the hall.
Several dozen off-duty Richmond RCMP officers and one off-duty paramedic were having their annual Christmas party just above where that shooting took place.
“We were in another part of the building when shots rang out below,” Thiessen — then a constable — told The Vancouver Sun in 2001.
Officers, many wearing evening wear, rushed downstairs and provided first aid to those shot, Thiessen said.
“We saw lots of blood and lots of hysterical people,” he said. “We went from a Christmas-party mode to active police work in a split second.
“Our members reacted quickly. We were responsible for saving lives.... We were concerned for our safety. We weren’t sure if these people were going to come back.”