Staff at two secondary schools in Burnaby and Coquitlam were shocked to find bullet holes and smashed windows when they arrived at work on Monday morning — evidence of shots being fired over the weekend.
The discovery led to an evacuation at Byrne Creek Secondary School in Burnaby as RCMP investigated bullet holes found in the front entrance of the building.
Meanwhile, a bullet hole was found in a classroom window at the back of Centennial Secondary School in Coquitlam. Both RCMP and school staff decided an evacuation there was not necessary.
Burnaby RCMP confirmed that the shots were fired in the area just after midnight on Sunday. No one was inside the school at that time. The timing of the shooting has investigators thinking this was an act of vandalism.
“As it sits now, we think that the reason why it occurred off-hours was that wanted to damage the school,” Staff-Sgt. Maj. John Buis said.
“I think that’s sort of reflective of our society today, with the easy access to firearms that people have, and the mentality that that’s the way they’re going to get back at the school,” Buis added. He said RCMP are looking into whether the shooter may have been a student.
School staff made the decision to evacuate the building before classes started Monday morning while RCMP investigated. Classes resumed a couple hours later that day.
A spokesperson for Coquitlam RCMP said police have not yet determined when the shots were fired, saying the incident happened at any time between Friday night and Monday morning.
Cpl. Michael McLaughlin said that police have not found a link between the incident at Centennial Secondary and the one in Burnaby, but said the investigation is still in its early stages.
“To have two similar incidents is certainly a concern,” McLaughlin said. “We’re well aware of it, and we’re working with investigators in Burnaby to see if there are any potential links.
“We want to caution people about making any sort of inferences beyond what’s happening right here,” he added. “We need to focus on what’s happening right now.”
RCMP in both cities confirm there is no threat to the public and are asking anyone with information about either of the shootings to contact them immediately.
~With files from Tanya Beja
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