RCMP Chief Supt. Janice Armstrong says the “very brazen daylight shooting” in a busy Walnut Grove mall that killed 26-year-old Kevin LeClair in February of 2009 “absolutely shocked” the community.
At the time, Armstrong was the officer in charge of the Langley RCMP detachment.
“I recall walking around the crime scene a few days later, looking at the bullet holes and really shaking my head in disbelief and wondering how these gangsters thought that they were going to get away with this,” Armstrong told a Monday afternoon press conference in Burnaby.
“Well, they didn’t.”
The press conference was called by the regional Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT), which announced two people have been charged in the LeClair slaying.
IHIT officer in charge Supt. Dan Malo said charges of first degree murder have been laid against Vancouver resident Conor D’Monte, 33, described by Malo as the current leader of the UN gang and Cory “Franky” Vallee, 32, of no fixed address, said to be “affiliated” to the UN.
Both men are still at large.
D’Monte is a 6’1″ 201 lb. Caucasian with black shaved hair and a tattoo of Chinese characters on his left arm. He sometimes uses the names “Benzo”, “Brian Black” or “Manuel Nico Ortega.”
Valle is 5’10”, 260 lbs. with brown hair and brown eyes and sometimes goes by “Frankie”, “Frank,” “Panther” or “Specs.”
“These people need to be arrested and need to be arrested now”, said Malo described both men as dangerous and warned members of the public to call 911 if they see them.
Conor D’Monte (left) and Cory Vallee, 34 (right)
LeClair, an Abbotsford resident, died in hospital two days after he was shot several times at close range while driving his pickup truck.
LeClair was chased into the busy Walnut Grove mall parking lot by two vehicles, one a van and the other a car.
An innocent bystander at the shopping centre the day of the LeClair shooting narrowly escaped injury by ducking down as bullets went flying through her vehicle.
One witness told The Times she watched from her apartment balcony as a dark grey pickup was sprayed with bullets from what appeared to be an automatic weapon, fired from another vehicle in the parking lot of the Thunderbird Village shopping centre at 88 Avenue, east of 200 Street.
As many as 40 shots were heard.
Another witness, waitress Nicole Watt, was wiping tables when she heard a noise that sounded like fireworks. She looked up to see a man in a blue minivan firing shots at the pickup, before speeding away with two other vehicles following.
She called 911.
A doctor from a Thunderbird Village medical practice came to administer aid to the victim, described as “a huge man, covered in tattoos.”
Another witness reported seeing guns thrown from the suspect vehicle or vehicles onto the pavement as they sped off.
The day before the shooting, LeClair was seen giving Jonathan Bacon, the oldest of the infamous Bacon brothers of Abbotsford, a ride in his truck in Port Moody.
D’Monte and Vallee were also charged with conspiracy to murder the Bacons and their associates in the rival Red Scorpions gang.
Jonathan Alex Barber, 23, of Langley was killed while driving a Porsche Cayenne in Burnaby
At the same press conference, IHIT announced six people have now been charged with the murder of an innocent Langley man who was shot and killed while driving an SUV linked to the Bacons.
The six, all of them already in jail on other charges, were formally charged Friday with first degree murder for the May 9, 2008, shooting death of Jonathan Alex Barber, 23, of Langley who was killed while driving a Porsche Cayenne in Burnaby along Kingsway near 14 Avenue.
Barber was taking the vehicle to have some electronics installed when he was shot by United Nations gang members who were after the Bacons.
Malo described Barber as “a complete innocent just doing his job” who had no idea he was working on a vehicle that was linked to the Bacons.
Charged are Vancouver resident Barzan Tilli-Choli, Richmond resident Dan Russell, Mission resident Dilun Hung, Burnaby resident Karwan Saed and two Surrey residents, Ion Kroitoru and Yong Lee, all alleged U.N. members.
They are also charged with the attempted murder of Vicky King, who was following Barber in another vehicle in order to give him a ride home after he delivered the SUV.
The victim’s families were informed of the charges and invited to attend the media briefing Monday but did not appear.
Malo said the families appeared satisfied with the developments.
He said the shootings were part of a war between the UN gang and the rival Red Scorpions.
Chief Supt. Armstrong, now the operations officer and assistant district commander for the Lower Mainland RCMP, praised the investigating officers for their “dogged determination and relentless pursuit” of the the suspects.
“That’s what we do,” she said.
“We help to put bad guys in jail and make our communities safe.”