Parts of Vancouver International Airport (YVR) were closed off yesterday, marked off by yellow tape, as police responded to an incident outside of the airport’s main terminal. What started off as reports of gunfire were revealed as a murder outside the airport’s domestic departure terminal.
Departures level outside airport closed off
According to Global News, police responded to the incident after receiving calls at around 15:00 local time. The brazen daytime shooting took place at the entranceway to the International Departures section of the terminal on the elevated departure level.
The RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) reported that officers intercepted the getaway vehicle, and shots were fired at the police during the chase. Unfortunately, the vehicle managed to evade police, who closed off key roads out of the city of Richmond, where the airport is situated. However, they were unable to catch the shooters.
“We do not have anybody in custody. We have not had additional reports of additional shootings underway, which is what I would classify as an active situation,” – Dawn Roberts, Spokesperson, BC RCMP via Global News
One witness reported seeing several people dressed in black outside the departures terminal, noting that two of them fired their weapons over a dozen times. At the scene of the crime, a white Mercedes with the door still open was spotted behind police tape. A blue tent covered part of the sidewalk outside the terminal with portable dividers blocking off certain sections.
Minimal disruption to airport operations
According to Vancouver Airport’s social media channels, an initial post warned the public of a police incident. However, the initial message noted “the airport is open and safe with restricted access.” The public post also added:
“Flights are operating. Please check with your airline on the status of your flight before coming to the airport.”
Roughly an hour after the first social media post, YVR issued the following statement:
Statement from Vancouver Airport Authority: pic.twitter.com/aKL7rXQEQR
— Vancouver International Airport (YVR) (@yvrairport) May 10, 2021
Public transport and traffic disruptions
TransLink, the company responsible for metro service to the airport, said that there were disruptions to service for the three stations situated on Sea Island (on which Vancouver Airport is situated).
While one station serves travelers heading to and from the airport, another station is key for certain airport employees. The organization noted that the disruption was temporary and that service has since resumed.
From social media posts, it appears that police actions to cut off traffic resulted in heavy congestion on the major roads in the vicinity of the airport.
Shooting Yvr can't get off knight street bridge pic.twitter.com/WDI9YShVSJ
— Lorne M (@bckill) May 9, 2021
The Vancouver Sun notes that the victim in Sunday’s incident was a known gang member. The 28-year-old killed was believed to be part of an ongoing gang conflict.
The area in and around Vancouver (known as the lower mainland) has had a number of targeted, gang-related shootings in recent weeks. The Vancouver Sun also notes that in the past three weeks, there have been at least 10 shootings, with many of these leading to fatalities.
Heard from colleagues about the YVR shooting. Keep safe everyone! (Pic from colleagues) pic.twitter.com/emCbuc5Psy
— MJ (@jhaneinsane) May 9, 2021
With all of this activity, it should be made clear that an incident of this nature is the first to have taken place at Vancouver Airport in its 90-year history, which is considered one of the best airports in North America.