BRITISH COLUMBIA

Hanif Jessa Killing: Vancouver City Workers Mourn Colleague's Death

07/16/2015 11:36 EDT | Updated 07/16/2016 05:59 EDT
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VANCOUVER - A City of Vancouver employee whose murder sparked concerns for his co-workers was shot in a vehicle outside his home in suburban Burnaby, police say.

Sgt. Stephanie Ashton of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team said Hanif Jessa was shot Wednesday afternoon in what police believe was a targeted attack.

Jessa, 53, died in hospital a short time later.

"We do not have a specific suspect in mind at this time," Ashton said Thursday, adding police have "a number of investigative leads."

Jessa had worked at the City of Vancouver for 25 years and was not known to police.

RCMP previously said a suspect approached a Burnaby home around noon Wednesday, and a shouting match ensued before shots were fired.

Ashton said IHIT is working with all the police detachments in the Vancouver area.

The fatal shooting prompted Burnaby RCMP to issue a warning that other city workers in Vancouver may be at risk.

Vancouver Police Chief Adam Palmer said Mounties cautioned his department about an hour after Jessa was shot, around noon Wednesday.

Officers were immediately dispatched to city hall, a nearby engineering building and two works yards, Palmer said Thursday, when police presence continued as staff returned to work.

Security measures were scaled back later as officers determined the threat had been substantially reduced, and all the work sites returned to normal operation.

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson said the RCMP has advised the city that there is no longer any threat to employees.

Robertson said he is shocked and saddened by the murder of the employee who had worked for the city for 25 years.

"This is obviously a very disturbing event for city staff, particularly those who worked closely with this employee over the years," he told a news conference.

"This was a longtime employee who had enormous support, a much-loved employee with the city, which makes it a really tragic loss. A lot of people (are) impacted at the city who worked with him and are grieving his loss."

The City of Vancouver said in a statement that counselling and support is being offered to staff, and the flag at city hall has been lowered to half-mast to honour Jessa.

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