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Mayor Robertson "outraged" by weekend gang shooting

Mayor Gregor Robertson spoke out against the gang-related weekend shooting this morning, calling the assault "despicable" and "scary." At a City Hall press conference he said that Vancouver Police Department was pulling out all the stops to deal with the brazen attack on Oak Street.

"My first reaction is one of outrage," he said. "Speaking not just as the mayor, but also as a father, and a resident of the local neighbourhood. I will tell you it was scary for my family," said the mayor, who lives only a block away from where the incident occured.

He described hearing the gunshots on Saturday night when he was at home with his wife and 15-year-old daughter. I had "a rotten sinking feeling," he said. Robertson picked up the phone and dialed 911, but the number was busy because so many neighbours had also called. Robertson refused to comment on his involvement once police arrived on the scene.

Deputy Chief Constable Warren Lemke assured the public that this was an isolated incident and was not targeted at this specific neighbourhood or restaurant.

The Vancouver Police Department will not tolerate this, he told reporters."We are going to step up high visibility police presence in all the areas where gang members are known to congregate," Lemke, who is in charge of the investigation, said.

Police will step up their bar watch and restaurant watch programs, said the Deputy Chief. He said that there was no doubt the public would see an increase in uniformed Vancouver police presence in the city.

"[This incident] is on-going part of gang war [in the Lower Mainland]," Lemke said. The incident is connected to the Metrotown shooting of longtime Vancouver gangster and convicted killer Gurmit Singh Dhak in October, Lemke said.

No suspects are in police custody but eight people remain at the hospital where they are being treated for gunshot wounds. Their injuries vary in severity from critical condition to bullet grazing. The ten victims, one of whom refused treatment, range in age from 20 to 36.

The shooting was preceded by an invitation-only birthday party on Saturday night, where the majority of attendees had gang connections, Lemke said. No innocent bystanders were hit by the bullets.

He refused to comment further on the investigation, including naming the gang(s) involved in the incident.

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