Hotel video shows crowd fleeing after fatal Wall Centre shooting

CCTV video from before and after the murder were played for jurors at the trial of three men charged in the high-profile slaying.

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Dozens of people in the lobby of the Sheraton Wall Centre were captured on video running for the exit and hiding behind furniture after a gunman fatally shot gangster Sandip Duhre on Jan. 17, 2012.

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CCTV video clips from the hotel lobby before and after the murder were played for jurors on Thursday at the B.C. Supreme Court trial of three men charged in the high-profile slaying.

The accused, Dean Wiwchar and Rabih Alkhalil, who are charged with first-degree murder, and Larry Amero, who is charged conspiracy to kill, watched intently as the video was played throughout the day on monitors in front of them.

While the shooting itself was not captured on the various hotel cameras, the clips showed the gunman walking into the hotel lobby just after 8:45 p.m., passed chairs where the Cuban women’s soccer team had gathered, and into the Café One restaurant.

He was dressed in a grey and bright-yellow jacket and jeans, with his face obscured by a scarf and his head covered.

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Seconds later, as customers and staff could be seen fleeing through the lobby’s main entrance, the shooter walked quickly out of the café and out the hotel doors.

Prosecutor Sheryl Wagner said police obtained footage played over two days this week from CCTV cameras both inside and outside the hotel, including some stationed at a former 7-Eleven on Burrard Street and at an office building at 808 Nelson St.

She played clips of video showing vehicles police later linked to the suspects driving around the area before the shooting.

In addition to the gunman, two other men who the Crown earlier identified as “spotters” could be seen walking into the lobby bar beside the café and sitting at the counter. Both were wearing dark jackets with hoods with fur trim.

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The video played Thursday showed the two getting up from their stools and leaving the hotel less than five minutes before the shooting.

Memorial photo handed out at the funeral for Sandhip Durhe who was shot dead while dining at a restaurant at the Wall Centre on Jan. 17, 2012.
Memorial photo handed out at the funeral for Sandhip Durhe who was shot dead while dining at a restaurant at the Wall Centre on Jan. 17, 2012. Photo by Jenelle Schneider /Vancouver Sun

Prosecutor Nicole Gregoire said in her opening statement last month that there would be evidence showing that Wiwchar was the shooter and Alkhalil was one of the spotters — wearing “a distinctive Parajumper jacket with a yellow zipper.”

“You will hear evidence that a strikingly similar jacket was located in Mr. Alkhalil and Mr. Amero’s Montreal penthouse when it was searched in August 2012,” she told jurors on the first day of the trial.

She also said police found a phone in Alkhalil’s bedroom containing text messages sent at 10:52 p.m. on Jan. 17, and 5:59 p.m. the following day. The first one said: “dips dead I believe” and the second said: “Chk th van news this week lol we put this city upside down.”

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Other video clips played for the jury showed that the suspect wearing the grey and yellow coat entered the lower lobby of the hotel about 35 minutes before the shooting, then exited a short time later.

In the hour before the shooting, the hotel lobby was crowded with guests, some riding up and down the escalators, others going in and out of the restaurant and bar areas. A mother and her young son walked out of the café a short time before the murder.

Vancouver police forensic video analyst Christopher Stoddard compiled the video clips, explaining to the jury how some of the time stamps on the original footage were not completely accurate.

Stoddard testified that he pulled still photos from the video of suspects and the vehicles the Crown alleges were used to commit the murder.

The trial, scheduled to last about six months, continues Friday.

kbolan@postmedia.com

Twitter: @kbolan

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