Police report shootings of homeless people near Vancouver

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Canadian police reported multiple shootings of homeless people Monday in a Vancouver suburb and said a suspect was in custody.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said most of the shootings were in downtown Langley. One reported shooting was in neighboring Langley Township.

Police Sgt. Rebecca Parslow said she had no immediate details on the victims’ conditions.

Mounties issued a cellphone alert about 6:30 a.m., telling people to avoid the area.

Police closed off a main route through the center of the city. Authorities later issued a cellphone alert saying the suspect was in custody.

Authorities initially said they were unsure if the shooter acted alone. But police later said the man in custody is believed to be solely responsible.

A homicide team confirmed on social media that its investigators deployed to Langley to help the mounted police.

Yellow police tape surrounded a sandwich shop and a parking lot in Langley at the scene of one of the shootings. A black tent was set up over one of the crime scenes.

Langley is about 30 miles (48 kilometers) southeast of Vancouver.

Mass shootings are less common in Canada than in the United States. The deadliest gun rampage in Canadian history happened in 2020 when a man disguised as a police officer shot people in their homes and set fires across the province of Nova Scotia, killing 22 people.

The country overhauled its gun-control laws after an attacker named Marc Lepine killed 14 women and himself in 1989 at Montreal’s Ecole Polytechnique college.

It is now illegal to possess an unregistered handgun or any kind of rapid-fire weapon in Canada. To purchase a weapon, the country also requires training, a personal risk assessment, two references, spousal notification and criminal record checks.

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