Following the murder of an employee of the City of Vancouver in Burnaby, B.C. on July 15, the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) temporarily increased its presence at City worksites, including the City Hall.
Although the victim reportedly was not at work at the time of the incident, the City reacted by adding precautionary security measures at work areas with municipal employees. The VPD announced in a press release on the day of the tragedy that it was taking “the unusual steps of securing a number works yards and job sites” due to “a threat against a City of Vancouver employee.”
The VPD added that it did not consider there to be “a risk to the general public” at the time.
Media reports have identified the victim as 53-year-old Hanif Jessa, who worked for the city for 25 years. Jessa was reportedly shot on a residential cul-de-sac in Burnaby shortly after noon on the 15th; the Burnaby RCMP detachment later stated in a media release that Jessa had been transported to a hospital emergency room, but died of his injuries. The RCMP added that it did not believe the incident to have been a random act.
“We are obviously stunned and saddened to hear the tragic news of the murder of a longtime city employee,” Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson said in a press statement on the day after the incident. “This is obviously a very disturbing event for City staff.”
On July 16, the City of Vancouver offered its condolences to Jessa’s family and friends in a press statement on its website. “Many City staff will be deeply affected by this event,” the statement read. “Counselling and support is available for any staff and co-workers at this most difficult of times.”
The statement acknowledged the extra VPD security that had been applied to City worksites following the tragedy, but said that the added measures were no longer required and that the City had already returned to its regular operations.
“VPD have committed to keeping the mayor and city management team apprised of any further developments [that] might require any changes to security as their investigations proceed,” the City added. “But at this point, there is no change anticipated.
“Our goal is to ensure staff receive the support they need and to find our way forward to continue serving our citizens.”
The City Hall flag flew at half-mast to commemorate Jessa’s death following the incident.