12/14/2011 06:51 EST | Updated 02/13/2012 05:12 EST

Vancouver Mother Shot Dead, Child In Back Seat


VANCOUVER - A 38-year-old woman was shot dead Wednesday while sitting in a car with a toddler in the back seat — the second shooting in Vancouver in less than 24 hours.

Const. Lindsey Houghton said the Vancouver resident and the child were in an SUV outside a home in a residential neighbourhood when a suspect or suspects fired multiple shots at close range through the vehicle's window, striking the victim multiple times Wednesday afternoon.

When police arrived on the scene, the victim's vehicle was parked but the engine was still running, said Houghton.

He said the boy, who is believed to be about three years old, was taken into care by social workers with the Ministry of Children and Family Development.

"I could not begin to even fathom what this young boy is going through," said Houghton. "This is a horrible day for this young boy and his family."

Houghton said police are now trying to contact the boy's father and the victim's next of kin.

He said no arrests have been made and there are no descriptions of suspects, although police are talking to several witnesses.

While police believe the shooting was targeted, they don't think the attack was gang related, said Houghton.

"This is something that has all the hallmarks of being very targeted and very directed as to whoever was sitting in that driver's seat," he said, adding that investigators believe the suspect or suspects were in a vehicle when they fired on the victim.

Local resident Joe Ahluwalia said he was going for a walk when he heard about the shooting. The 76-year-old man, who has lived in the neighbourhood for 41 years, says authorities should crack down on criminals.

"Something has to be done," he said. "You know the law has to be strict."

In a separate shooting Tuesday night, a man in his 30s was wounded while sitting in a Tim Horton's restaurant.

The shooter managed to get away and no arrests have been made, although police have a vague description of the male suspect.

Houghton said police don't see any immediate links between the two shootings.

"At this point it doesn't appear to be related based on the limited information that we have, the crime scene itself," he said.

Early Wednesday evening, the body of the 38-year-old woman was removed from the scene.

Houghton said the body was taken to the morgue for an autopsy, and the SUV will be transported to a forensic storage facility where investigators will process the vehicle for evidence.

Houghton said the killing was the 14th homicide in Vancouver this year.