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Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Bacon was shot dead Sunday afternoon after leaving the Delta Grand Okanagan, a conspicuous hotel and casino complex in downtown Kelowna.

17:55 | ,

Jonathan Bacon won’t appear in court again, after all. The eldest of three perennially accused, criminally-sanctioned brothers, he was facing trial on more drugs and weapons charges. Then bang, bang, bang. Bullets flew on Sunday. One-third of a notorious fraternal enterprise is gone.

Bacon was shot dead Sunday afternoon after leaving the Delta Grand Okanagan, a conspicuous hotel and casino complex in downtown Kelowna. A masked assailant pointed an automatic rifle at a white Porsche Cayenne and fired, killing Bacon and wounding as many as five other passengers, including two women and at least one known member of the Hell’s Angels, reportedly a close friend of the deceased. The shooter fled in another vehicle. As of Monday afternoon, no arrests had been made.

According to published accounts, Bacon and alleged criminal cohorts had been under police surveillance but not immediately before the brazen attack, which took place about one kilometre from a clubhouse used by a local chapter of Hell’s Angels.

Gangster killed, five injured in shooting outside Kelowna casino
It had to be horrifying, especially to bystanders at the Delta Grand, but violence has followed the Bacons everywhere. Alleged to be the core of a criminal gang called the Red Scorpions, the brothers have suffered attempts on their lives before, and had always survived. Police took the very unusual step of warning the public to steer clear of the Bacons, lest innocents get caught in gang wars and deadly crossfire.

Jonathan, 29, survived a 2006 shooting on the driveway of his family’s former Abbotsford home. James (Jamie) Bacon, 25, the youngest of the three brothers, took a bullet outside the same suburban house the following year, as he climbed out of his brother’s Corvette sports car. “Someone, but more likely two people, opened fire on him with a barrage of 45 calibre bullets,” read a B.C. provincial court judgment, related to that shooting incident. “At least five bullets hit the Corvette, seven went through the attached garage door, and one became embedded in [a Bacon family SUV]. James Bacon was hit by one bullet in the back between his shoulder blades, which would likely have seriously injured or killed him, except for the ballistic vest he was wearing.”

The Bacons aren’t boys to back down. Jamie fired back at his unnamed assailants with a Glock handgun, a prohibited weapon in Canada. Two men then emerged from the Bacon home and stashed the weapon in a “secret compartment” installed inside the family SUV. Police discovered the gun, and three other prohibited semi-automatic weapons, inside the secret compartment, during their investigations the next day.

Not two weeks prior, Jamie Bacon was sentenced to three years in prison, on an earlier drugs-related robbery conviction. Why was he not locked behind bars, but instead free to drive around in a Corvette? Because the court had determined he’d already served an “equivalent sentence” of 14 months for the robbery, in pre-trial custody. So he walked, took a bullet in the back, and fired at his assailants with his Glock.

He was arrested again in 2008, this time with Jarrod, the middle Bacon brother, now 28. The pair was accused of dozens of firearms offences. Jamie was eventually convicted on some of those charges; Jarrod’s charges were stayed. But their legal problems were far from over and their notoriety only grew.

In 2009, Jamie was charged with first-degree murder, and conspiracy to commit murder, for his alleged role in the 2007 massacre of six people in Surrey, a Vancouver suburb. He was delivered to a Surrey remand centre and eventually was placed in solitary confinement. He complained; he found his living conditions deplorable. Bacon took the remand centre to court and won. A B.C. Supreme Court judge found that Bacon’s Charter rights had been breached. “His treatment by the administration and guards is highly arbitrary and further accentuates his powerlessness,” the judge ruled.

Later court documents attest that “Mr. Bacon’s circumstances at Surrey Pre-Trial have improved considerably” since the ruling. His trial on the so-called Surrey Six charges still looms.

Jarrod Bacon, meanwhile, is locked up and awaiting trial on charges related to more drug trafficking allegations. Jarrod avoided prosecution in 2004 on an attempted-murder rap; the charge was stayed after an alleged victim refused to testify.

Although brother Jonathan’s luck ran out Sunday, all three Bacon boys had caught some breaks. They benefitted from able defence lawyers and a legal system that spat them back into society. And they had supportive parents; that makes their trajectories more strange. The brothers didn’t come from poverty or a broken home. As one judge noted recently in a court decision, the Bacons brothers were raised “in a middle class home — both parents had good employment.”

David Bacon was employed by the Abbotsford school district, and was put on paid leave in 2008. Susan Bacon has been manager at a local credit union. They have stood by their sons — and fought for them, in the courts and in the press — through all of the shootings, the accusations, the trials and convictions, and through what they have claimed are campaigns of police and public harassment aimed at themselves, always themselves, the self-appointed victims caught in a cycle of mean-spirited prosecution, to say nothing of guns and drugs and bloodshed.

Now they are forced to cope with the murder of one of their own. Awful for any parent. But no one can say this came as a surprise. Everyone was warned and we all saw it coming: Retaliatory violence. What else could come, except for more?

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