Violent brawl among almost 20 men in Yaletown linked to Lower Mainland gang war: Vancouver police

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      The Vancouver Police Department (VPD) has released further details about a violent group fight that took place in Yaletown this past weekend that could have claimed the lives of several victims were it not for the actions of first responders.  

      Prior to 2:30 a.m. on December 8, Vancouver police responded to a report about a large altercation in the area of Hamilton and Helmcken streets.

      A group of almost 20 men were engaged in a conflict.

      The VPD stated that the individuals involved were associated with two separate gangs and that the gangsters had been fighting inside a Yaletown establishment before the dispute spilled out on to the street.

      The Vancouver Sun has identified the gangs as the Brothers Keepers and United Nations gangs.

      When police arrived at the scene, they found four men suffering from stab wounds. Officers applied emergency medical services until ambulances and fire services arrived and took the victims to hospital, where one man remains in serious condition.

      “Without the quick action and officers being trained in TEMS [Tactical Emergency Medical Services] this assault may have ended up being a homicide,” VPD spokesperson Sgt. Aaron Roed stated in a news release.  “There is no question that trained TEMS officers played a role in saving multiple lives.”

      Police arrested seven individuals who were taken into custody, but they have since been released without charges.

      However, the investigation remains ongoing and the VPD stated that charges are anticipated.

      Anyone who has video or witnessed the assault is asked to contact VPD investigators at 604-717-2541 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477.

      In related developments in the ongoing Lower Mainland gang conflict, on December 3, the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) identified 21-year-old Verron Nand, whom the Vancouver Sun identified as a Brothers Keepers associate, as the victim of a fatal shooting in Surrey on December 1.

      In addition, on December 6, IHIT identified 19-year-old Jagvir Malhi, who did not have a criminal record, as the unintended victim of a gang-related targeted shooting in Abbotsford on November 12, 2018. 

      Meanwhile, drug-trafficking operations linked to the Brothers Keepers group had previously been shut down by Surrey RCMP in August and by Chilliwack RCMP in November.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook