B.C.’s deadly past: Penticton shooting one of the worst massacres in provincial history

A 60-year-old man has turned himself into police

Four people are dead and the community of Penticton is reeling after what has become the sixth deadliest massacre in modern B.C. history.

The killings started in the Okanagan city’s downtown Monday after a witness told police a man was shot while standing in a yard.

In the hours that followed, another man and two women were killed in a multi-hour shooting spree before the 60-year-old suspect walked up to the front desk of a Penticton RCMP detachment and surrendered to police.

RCMP have remained tightlipped over the killings, but say the alleged perpetrator and victims knew each other and the public is not at risk.

READ MORE: Four dead in Penticton shooting spree, one in custody

It was the worst shooting the province has seen since the Surrey Six killings in 2007, where two innocent victims were killed along with four involved in the Lower Mainland’s drug war.

Only on four other occasions have more than four people been killed in a single incident in B.C.:

April 5, 1996 – Mark Chahal

Nine people were killed went Mark Chahal walked into his family’s wedding in Vernon and opened fire. The Gakhal and Saran families had been preparing for a wedding when the husband of one of the women arrived at a home on Okanagan Avenue and began shooting. Chahal, who had been estranged from the family, killed Karnail and Darshan Gakhal; son Jaspal; daughters Balwinder, Kalwinder, Harvinder, Rajwar and Jasbir Saran; and son-in-law Roger Saran.

Aug. 2, 1982 – David Shearing

David Shearing killed six members of the Johnson-Bentley family while they were camping in Wells Grey Provincial Park, about 20 kilometres north of Clearwater. Shearing, who pleaded guilty to the murders two years later and was sentenced to life in prison, had stalked the family for two days before he shot grandparents George and Edith Bentley and their daughter Jackie Johnson and husband Bob.

Shearing held Janet, 13, and Karen, 11, hostage while sexually assaulting the oldest. He then killed both.

David Shearing (a.k.a David Ennis) is shown in a 1983 file photo. (The Canadian Press)

Aug. 28, 1972 – William Bernard Lepine

William McConnell, then 27, killed six people and wounded three in Kettle Valley after escaping from a Riverview Hospital, a now-defunct psychiatric hospital in the Lower Mainland. He was found not guilty by reason of insanity and sent to a psychiatric hospital.

Sept. 4, 1970 – Dale Nelson

Dale Nelson, of Creston, killed eight people, and partially consumed one, after what police described as a drinking binge and possible use of hallucinogenic drug LSD. The then-31-year-old was sentenced to life in prison but died of throat cancer in 1999.

Dale Nelson. (Wikimedia Commons)


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