West Shore RCMP and major crime investigators are investigating a homicide after finding a man, dead, inside a vehicle on Monday night in Langford.
Colleen Kennedy was driving to her Langford home on Humpback Road just before 11:30 p.m. on Monday with her boyfriend when they came across a silver Toyota 4Runner that appeared to have crashed into a tree. Kennedy said the front end of the vehicle was crumpled and the passenger-side door looked like it was open. She said it looked like the air bags were also deployed. The vehicle was almost perpendicular to the road, not leaving any room to drive past it. The couple was driving towards Sooke Road from the Westhills area.
The section of Humpback Road where she found the vehicle is heavily wooded, narrow and Kennedy said it was pitch black. With her vehicle’s headlights illuminating the roadway as well as a flashlight in hand, Kennedy rolled down her vehicle’s window and shouted to see if anyone would respond. When there was no response, she said she got out of her vehicle for a moment but quickly got back in out of fear. She said she could not clearly see a body in the front or passenger seats of the vehicle.
“So we’re pulling up and we’re like what do we do? My instant thought is someone has been thrown from the vehicle or they’re dying,” Kennedy said. “It’s a scary scene … I felt like there was a life at risk so I called the police right away.”
Kennedy said she saw a fire truck, ambulance and police respond to the scene. She said one of the paramedics peered into the vehicle and then recommended she and her boyfriend should get going. At the time, she didn’t know if there was anyone in the vehicle, let alone that it would turn into a homicide investigation.
“The next day I found out it was a homicide and I was kind of sick to my stomach,” Kennedy said.
The neighbourhood has felt unsafe to Kennedy before. She said she’s seen people sleeping in their vehicles and heard loud verbal fights. She has even stopped herself from pulling over to help two men jump their vehicle before because she felt uncomfortable.
She also said she has seen an SUV similar to the one that crashed, drive through her neighbourhood a few times.
“There’s not a lot of houses here so we see what goes on,” Kennedy said.
Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit investigating a homicide in Langford in 3100-block of Humpback Rd. Police called to area Monday night and found a man dead in a vehicle. #yyjnews @GoldstreamNews pic.twitter.com/1fYDUfB3ji— Shalu Mehta (@ShaluMehta32) January 22, 2020
On Tuesday, a statement from West Shore RCMP said the Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit (VIIMCU) is investigating the homicide. The statement said police responded to a report of a single-vehicle crash near the 3100-block of Humpback Road in Langford on Jan. 20 around 11:30 p.m. Police said officers at the scene found a dead man inside the vehicle.
West Shore RCMP was unable to clarify exactly where inside the vehicle the man was found. Foul play is suspected and both RCMP and VIIMCU are gathering evidence.
Const. Nancy Saggar of West Shore RCMP said evidence gathered so far is leading police to believe it was a targeted incident.
“The victim was the intended victim,” Saggar said at a news conference.
On Tuesday afternoon, police tape was seen at the intersection of Humpback Road and Irwin Road as well as on the other end of Humpback Road in the 3100-block. At least three vehicles could be seen past the police tape on Humpback Road – one of them under a tent.
|Humpback Road was closed at Irwin Road Tuesday. Police are investigating a homicide after a man was found dead in a vehicle in the 3100-block of Humpback Road. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)
On Wednesday morning, the road was open to vehicle traffic again with just the remainder of the police barricade left in the brush on the side of Humpback Road.
Saggar said the investigation is in its early stages and that police will not be releasing the victim’s name. Investigators have been in the area canvassing the neighbourhood, according to Saggar.
Tanya Barnes, a long-time employee of Ma Miller’s Liquor Store, said police asked the business for security footage but would not give her any details about the incident. She said some customers have been speaking about it, and noted that the area has always had a heavier police presence.
“It’s just creepy,” Barnes said.
Saggar said she is hoping to have more information about the investigation next week.
The BC Coroners Service confirmed it is investigating the death of a man matching the description of the incident. Other details were not made available because police are treating it as a suspicious death. Since it is early on in the investigation, cause of death has not been confirmed.
Investigators are seeking witnesses who may have been in the area of the 3100-block of Humpback Road between 9 p.m. and midnight on Jan. 20. The public is also asked to review any home security video surveillance and vehicle dash camera footage that may have captured suspicious activity.
Anyone with information regarding the homicide is asked to call the Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit information line at 250-380-6211.