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Jonathan Bacon dead after mass shooting in Kelowna

Jonathan Bacon is seen at one of his court appearances in Abbotsford in 2008 on drug and weapons charges. - John Van Putten file photo
Jonathan Bacon is seen at one of his court appearances in Abbotsford in 2008 on drug and weapons charges.
— image credit: John Van Putten file photo

The eldest of the three notorious Bacon brothers of Abbotsford died in a mass shooting at a Kelowna hotel Sunday afternoon.

RCMP confirmed today (Monday) at a press conference that Jonathan Bacon, 30, was killed in the targeted gangland hit that injured four others – two men and two women – at the Delta Grand Hotel.

The shooting occurred at about 2:45 p.m. at the front entrance to the hotel. Police said that as a white Porsche Cayenne was leaving the hotel, an unconfirmed number of people in another vehicle – a silvery green SUV – followed the Porsche and opened fire. Witnesses have described seeing a masked man with an assault rifle.

A witness who was walking outside the hotel at about 3 p.m. Sunday said that at least 50 people ran out of the building screaming, “There’s shooting! Run, run run!” as the sound of gunfire pierced the air.

The Porsche came to a stop in the garden area adjacent to the hotel’s convention centre entrance. One of the vehicle’s male occupants fled the scene and had not been located by press deadline.

Police said it is believed there was more than one shooter, and the suspect vehicle left the scene in an unknown direction. They could not confirm whether a burned-out vehicle found later was the get-away car.

Supt. Pat Fogarty of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit said the three men in the Porsche Cayenne were well known to police.

Fogarty confirmed that one of the other victims was a member of the Hells Angels.

Police can’t say whether Bacon was the intended target.

Fogarty said although the public and media often want to categorize criminals into their gang affiliations, it’s not always that simple.

Gangsters in B.C. are more fluid and their loyalties less certain than they might be elsewhere. That’s why Bacon – known as a high-profile Red Scorpion – would have been associating with a Hells Angel, Fogarty said.

“When you’re sitting in a car with someone, you’re more friend than foe.”

Fogarty said organized crime has become more prevalent in smaller B.C. communities as gangsters move into areas where there is less competition, a better price for their product and less police presence.

This can increase the potential for violence, but Fogarty said police do their best to stop such activity before it happens.

“We get ahead of these things all the time, but the public doesn’t know about it,” he said.

Jonathan was the only one of the three Bacon brothers – who police have said were key players in the Red Scorpions gang – not in prison.

Jamie, 26, was found guilty of multiple weapons charges last year and awaits trial in the Surrey Six slayings on one count of first-degree murder and one count of conspiracy to commit murder.

Jarrod, 28, was acquitted in the weapons trial, but is awaiting trial on drug conspiracy and trafficking charges. He was among five arrested (including four in Abbotsford) in November 2009, following an undercover sting targeting both the Red Scorpions and the UN Gang.

Little information can be found on Jonathan’s early years. He graduated from W. J. Mouat Secondary in 1999. Jamie, who won a provincial gold medal in wrestling in his Grade 12 year, graduated from Yale Secondary in 2003. At deadline, it was unclear as to where Jarrod went to school.

The Bacon family purchased a home on Strathcona Court in east Abbotsford in 2001. The seven-bedroom home was sold to an unrelated family in December 2010 and the Bacons left the community, although police would not reveal their current location.

The first public indications of Jonathan’s criminal troubles appear in provincial court records in 2000, when he was found guilty of possession of a controlled substance and was sentenced to one day in prison at the age of 19.

The following year, he was found guilty of possession of stolen property under $5,000 and was also handed a one-day jail sentence.

In 2005, Jonathan was among three people charged with drug and weapons offences after his home in the 2000 block of Winfield Drive was busted.

Also charged were his girlfriend Rayleene Burton and his associate Godwin Cheng.

Police seized marijuana, crack cocaine, ecstasy, two machine pistols, two handguns, silencers, a bulletproof vest and almost $100,000 in cash.

The case was dismissed by a provincial court judge, but that decision was overturned by the B.C. Court of Appeal, and the appeal ruling was upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada.

Their new trial had been scheduled to begin June 14, 2012.

The targeted hit in Kelowna was not Jonathan’s first. In September 2006, he was shot several times in the driveway of the Strathcona Court home.

Ongoing concerns about public safety prompted police to issue a warning in 2008 that anyone associated with the Bacons was putting their life at risk. Video surveillance cameras were installed in the

Strathcona Court neighbourhood.

Jonathan was also in trouble with the law in 2009, when he was charged with fraud and possession of property obtained by fraudulent means. His co-accused was Dennis Karbovanec, currently serving a life sentence after pleading guilty to three counts of second-degree murder and one count of conspiracy to commit murder in the Surrey Six killings, in which two innocent people were slain, including Ed Schellenberg of Abbotsford.

The two were accused of leasing a 2004 Mercedes SL55 from a Coquitlam car company using false documents. That vehicle is the one Jamie Bacon was driving when he was shot at, in a busy Abbotsford intersection in January 2009.

Charges in the fraud case were stayed against Jonathan and Karbovanec.

Three years ago, a bloody war erupted on Lower Mainland streets, as the Scorpions and rival gang United Nations battled for control of the drug trade, and carried out retribution for attacks on each other’s members.

– with files from Kelowna Capital News

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