Police in Langley, a suburb of Vancouver, said they responded to “multiple reports of shots fired with several victims and several different scenes throughout the City of Langley, and one scene in the Township of Langley” and asked the public to remain out of several areas, including the parking lot of a casino and a bus stop.
In an alert sent to B.C. residents’ phones, police said the shootings involved “transient victims,” or homeless people. The alert said the suspect was described as a white man in overalls and a camouflage t-shirt.
“During their interaction with the suspect police fired their weapon, hitting the man. He was pronounced dead at the scene,” police said in a statement.
Multiple shootings are much less common in Canada than in neighboring United States. Canada has stricter gun laws than its southern neighbour, though Canadians are allowed to own firearms as long as they have a licence.
One of Canada’s worst mass shootings took place in 2020, when a gunman driving a fake police car shot 13 people and killed another nine in a fire he set alight in Portapique, Nova Scotia.
While Canada’s gun homicide rate is less than one-fifth the U.S. rate, it is higher than that of other rich countries and has been rising, according to Statistics Canada.
Canada banned the sale and use of some 1,500 models of assault weapons, like the AR-15 rifle, two years ago in the wake of the Nova Scotia shooting, a move some firearms owners say they are contesting in court.
In May, Ottawa introduced legislation to implement a “national freeze” on the sale and purchase of handguns a week after a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers in their classroom in Uvalde, Texas.