News

Victims of arson, shots fired connected to Justice Institute

Several incidents of threats, arson and shots fired at or near the homes of 10 people connected to the New Westminster-based Justice Institute of B.C. are being investigated by the RCMP.

RCMP say of the 10 who were targeted, three are employees of the JIBC, while two are past students. The other five have indirect links to the institute. None of the incidents took place at the JIBC.

A JIBC press release said as far as officials there are aware, none of them is a current student, was physically harmed or was known to the police or suspected to be linked to any criminal activity.

"In late July an astute investigator recognized a link between seemingly unconnected criminal events occurring throughout the Lower Mainland," RCMP chief superintendent Janice Armstrong said. "Disturbingly, it seems innocent people have been subject to arsons of their homes and vehicles, and some have had their residences or vehicles shot at."

Armstrong emphasized the RCMP does not have any information to indicate anyone else is at risk.

A team of investigators from forces across the Lower Mainland are working on the case.

With the new school year beginning Tuesday, the RCMP and the Justice Institute decided it to alert the school's staff and students.

Security at the JIBC has been increased, but classes will continue as usual.

"JIBC is very concerned about this situation, and the impact it has had on innocent victims," JIBC president Jack McGee said. "We are doing everything we and to support the police investigation, and taking all possible steps to protect the safety and security of students, staff, faculty and the public who access our campuses."

Anyone with any information on the cases should contact their local police department.

ggranger@newwestnewsleader.com

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