Jonathan Bacon was fatally shot in Kelowna in August 2011.

Jonathan Bacon was fatally shot in Kelowna in August 2011.

Jonathan Bacon shooting motivated by revenge, says Crown

Trial underway for three men accused of killing former Abbotsford gangster

Jonathan Bacon, Larry Amero and James Riach were “hunted” before being gunned down in broad daylight in a busy tourist area of downtown Kelowna.

In his opening statement Monday, Crown counsel David Ruse said he intends to offer evidence that the fatal Aug. 14, 2011 shooting was the result of Jujhar Khun-Khun, Jason McBride and Michael Jones executing an order made by rival gangster Sukh Dhak, whose brother Gurmit had been killed in 2010.

Khun-Khun, McBride and Jones are charged with the first-degree murder of Bacon, formerly of Abbotsford, and of the attempted murder of Riach, Amero, Leah Hadden-Watts and Lindsay Black. They are also charged with multiple firearm offences. In court on Monday, they pleaded not guilty to all charges.

They have been in custody since their 2013 arrest.

Multiple witnesses are expected to testify in support of the theory that Sukh Dhak – the lead member of the gang the Dhak Group who himself was gunned down in 2012 – believed that Amero, a Hells Angel; Riach, an associate of the Independent Soldiers; and “their crew,” which included Bacon, a Red Scorpion, had killed his brother and he was looking for revenge.

“Dhak said he wanted to target those people and he wanted them killed,” Ruse said.

“He instructed (associates) to hunt for those targets … Hunting included identifying locations frequented by the targets, identifying vehicles driven by the targets and obtaining licence plates associated to those vehicles.”

If one of Dhak’s group saw the “targets,” they were under orders to follow them and report the sighting.

That, said Ruse, was how the events of Aug. 14, 2011 unfolded.

He said Bacon, Amero and Riach travelled with Lindsay Black and Leah Hadden-Watts to Kelowna on Aug. 12, 2011.

They were staying at the Delta Grand Hotel, where Amero apparently had a private suite secured. His boat, which was labelled “steroids & silicone,” was parked outside the hotel in the lagoon and at some point he hosted a party.

On Saturday the group went out for dinner and were ultimately spotted at Gotchas nightclub by those reporting to Dhak. They partied until around 1 a.m. on Aug. 14, then returned to the hotel.

Ruse said that later that same morning Dhak associate Manny Hairan – who is also now dead – met with Khun-Khun, McBride and Jones at a location on Cawston Avenue to plan their attack.

A Ford Explorer that Ruse said belonged to Jones, and which was ultimately burned to a cinder, was there.

“Jones had a map on the hood of the Explorer and was looking for escape routes away from the Grand,” Ruse told the court.

After mapping out an exit route, Ruse said McBride and Jones entered the hotel on a reconnaissance mission, and they wore ball caps and hoodies to disguise their appearance. When they met up with the other men, Ruse said, the discussion turned to where to go once the attack was complete.

Bacon, Amero, Riach and their female companions emerged from the hotel after brunch that Sunday, leaving their bags at the concierge and leaving the hotel through the rear doors to the lagoon area.

They boarded Amero’s boat, drove to the boat launch, and then loaded the boat onto a trailer. They walked back along Water Street to the Delta Grand courtyard, where Amero’s white Porsche Cayenne was parked.

At approximately 2:40 p.m. they got in the SUV.

Amero was in the driver seat, Bacon was in the front passenger seat, and Riach, Black and Hadden-Watts were in the back seat.

“After they got into the Porsche, the Ford Explorer pulled up to the passenger side of the Porsche, a gunman opened fire from within and outside the Explorer, and the Porsche accelerated forward, colliding with the front driver side of the Explorer before crashing into the side of the building,” Ruse said.

“You will hear the gunman pursued the Porsche, firing at the vehicle. The Explorer pulled forward and the gunman got into the vehicle and sped off down Cawston Avenue.”

Bacon died from his gunshot wounds; Hadden-Watts was shot in the neck and rendered a paraplegic; Amero was shot in the face, wrist and chest; and Black was shot through both upper legs.

Riach escaped injury.

At the scene, the police found 45 expended cartridge cases, two live rounds and numerous bullet fragments.

The trial continues.