05/03/2012 06:02 EDT | Updated 07/03/2012 05:12 EDT

Gangsters Posters Could Protect Public, B.C. MLA Says

Police should create posters to warn the public about gangsters shooting up the streets of Metro Vancouver in the ongoing drug wars, according to former Vancouver senior police officer and Vancouver South MLA, Kash Heed.

Although police have not released an official confirmation, sources have confirmed notorious gangster Ranjit Cheema was killed in a drive-by shooting while sitting in his SUV on East 61st Ave. in Vancouver on Wednesday morning.

The shooting came days after police issued a public warning about the possibility of escalating gang violence. Police feared retaliation after another veteran B.C. drug trafficker, Thomas Gisby, 50, was gunned down Saturday morning in Mexico.

Heed said the public doesn't know enough about the gang wars underway in Metro Vancouver or the people involved and he wants posters and publicity campaigns naming gangsters.

"We need to share that intelligence — not interfere with an investigation — but share that intelligence, because our number one priority should be public safety," he said.

If police are willing to put Stanley Cup rioters on posters, they should at least do the same for people far more dangerous, Heed said.

Heed also said he disagrees with some senior officers who don't like the poster idea because they say it gives young thugs notoriety they crave.

"A bunch of B.S. as far as I'm concerned. The public needs to be aware of who these thugs are, and we need to get the information out there," Heed said.

Heed worked the South Vancouver beat for years as a Vancouver police officer and says he's not surprised by Cheema's death, since there are several gang wars going on right now.

But he notes some police officers on the scene of yesterday's murder in South Vancouver, weren't even aware the victim was Cheema, a well known gang member with a career spanning two decades.

Cheema recently out of jail

Cheema was released three months ago from prison in California, where he’d been convicted for his role in the attempted sale of 200 kilograms of heroin.

An attempt was made to kill Cheema in 1995, when he was shot five times in the chest and abdomen outside a Vancouver karaoke bar. He was in a coma for six weeks after the shooting.

Cheema was an associate of several other gangsters who also were shot to death, including Bindy Johal who died in 1998, Mike Brar in 2000 and Robbie Kandola in 2002.

Former Vancouver police gang squad Det. Doug Spencer who dealt with Cheema several times, said Cheema, at age 43, had outlived many of his contemporaries.

“To live that long, it’s almost unheard of. The clock is ticking on all these guys,” said Spencer.