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Thursday, 24 January 2008

Ricardo Scarpino gangland slaying

Scarpino, 37, was gunned down Saturday night as he pulled up to a downtown steak house. The Vancouver man, who had been linked to gang activities, was shot dead in an SUV by at least two men. A passenger seated behind Scarpino was also killed. Scarpino's fiancée and another man survived the ambush at what was to have been an engagement celebration. The streets were busy blocks from a Vancouver Canucks hockey game that had let out.Fifteen years after Ricardo Scarpino pulled a gun and killed a man sitting across the table from him at a busy restaurant, it was his turn at the other end of the barrel.
Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu, meeting reporters at a previously scheduled press conference to unveil plans to cut violent crime by 10 per cent, instead found himself answering questions about the city's latest gang-style hit and residents' fears over the public gunplay.
"People can walk the streets of Vancouver," Chu said yesterday. But he added: "They need to be vigilant and be aware of their surroundings.
"Overall, the majority of the streets are safe."
Scarpino, recently released from jail after two decades of scrapes with the law, shot and killed a 24-year-old man in a Los Angeles restaurant in 1993 but faced only firearms charges because he claimed self-defence.
Vancouver's first homicides of 2008 continue a trend that has plagued the Vancouver area. The toll includes six people found dead last October in a Surrey apartment – including two innocent bystanders – and four men killed in three public shootings in one week.
Area police forces and the RCMP formed a task force last fall to try to stop the gang-related bloodshed.
Chu said he wants to stop criminals from carrying guns but stopped short of a calling for a city-wide handgun ban, a move Toronto Mayor David Miller is advocating for his city.
Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan, however, said he would support such a ban. "The fact is criminals are still going to do what they can to get illegal guns," Sullivan said.


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