TORONTO – A retired city engineer was charged Tuesday with the murders of four people in what police have called a ‘targeted’ shooting spree in the western Canadian city of Penticton.
John Brittain, 68, is facing three counts of premeditated murder and one of second-degree murder after turning himself in to authorities on Monday after police were alerted to two of the killings.
Investigators then discovered the bodies of two more victims during a search of the suburbs of Penticton, British Columbia, which has a population of around 30,000.
The suspect made a brief court appearance on Tuesday.
“Our preliminary investigation has determined that the accused and each of the victims were known to each other,” Royal Canadian Mounted Police Superintendent Ted De Jager told a press conference.
“The question of motive remains under investigation,” he said. “At this time, our investigation is continuing across multiple crime scenes.”
On Monday, De Jager called the shootings a “targeted incident.”
Renate Winter, whose 71-year-old husband, Rudi, was one of those killed, told local media she believed his murder was likely linked to a neighborhood dispute.
The couple had a “frosty” relationship with the shooter’s estranged wife, who lived next door, she told The Vancouver Sun.
Authorities have withheld the identities of the second male victim and the two female victims, all in their 60s and 70s.
Penticton Mayor John Vassilaki said he knew very little about Brittain other than that prior to his retirement in 2016, he had been very involved in community matters and “did his job well.”