Police, suspects exchange gunfire in Lower Mainland ‘crime spree’

Police are still looking for two suspects connected with the armed robbery in Port Coquitlam Tuesday that snarled traffic from Burnaby to Surrey and beyond.

A ‘crime spree’ that began at a car dealership in Port Coquitlam led to a heavy police response that shut down highways and transit stations across the Lower Mainland Tuesday.

Coquitlam RCMP says it got reports of a robbery involving firearms at a car dealership near Lougheed Highway and Dominion Avenue in Port Coquitlam around 3:40 p.m.

Police cruisers on a dark highway

Coquitlam RCMP on Highway 1 in Coquitlam near the King Edward overpass on Tuesday, November 22nd, 2022. (Kier Junos, CityNews Image)

Police say four suspects were involved and were seen stealing a vehicle from the dealership. While attempting to get away, the suspects and officers are said to have shot at each other.

Mounties say no police officer was hurt in the exchange but can’t confirm if any of the suspects were injured.

After the suspects left the area, police say they crashed the stolen vehicle on Highway 1 near the King Edward overpass, then tried to run. One of them was arrested at the scene, police say.

Investigators add another suspect carjacked a nearby vehicle, driving to Surrey where they were eventually arrested. Two suspects remain on the loose.

Police officers with their weapons drawn seen on Highway 1 in Coquitlam Tuesday

Police officers with their weapons drawn are seen at Shaughnessy Street and Lougheed Highway in Port Coquitlam. Metro Vancouver Transit Police has confirmed it received reports of shots fired near a transit station Tuesday afternoon, with a related incident taking place near a New Westminster SkyTrain station shortly after. (Photo submitted)

Coquitlam RCMP Cpl. Alexa Hodgins says police in Burnaby, Surrey, New Westminster, Vancouver, and Maple Ridge all had a hand in the investigation.

“We appreciate and thank the public for their assistance in adhering to police directions. This was a very dynamic investigation with multiple crime scenes which required additional assistance from numerous jurisdictions,” she said in a statement.

CityNews began receiving calls about the incident around 4 p.m. Tuesday, with drivers reporting major backups along Highway 1 in many areas throughout Burnaby, Coquitlam, and Surrey. Multiple transit stations were also closed for a time. Things began opening up again around 6:30 p.m.

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One caller to CityNews, Justin, says he was on Highway 1 just after the crash near the King Edward overpass.

“I heard the gunfire and saw the police converge on the site,” he said. “Then a police officer, like one of the SWAT members, jumped out and was yelling to the side of the road, ‘Show me your effing hands. Show me your effing hands.'”

Videos and images shared online showed officers in some areas walking through traffic with their weapons drawn.

“It was wild,” one person told CityNews, describing the situation in the Port Coquitlam area Tuesday afternoon.

Police are hoping anyone who saw the incident, or who has video footage, will call Coquitlam RCMP at 604-945-1550 and quote file number 2022-30931.

-With files from Mike Gazzola

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