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Police seek two people of interest in suspicious Victoria death

Investigators are looking for at least two people of interest in connection with the suspicious death of a 34-year-old man in a Fernwood apartment last week, but police have still not said whether they’re dealing with a homicide.
Colin LAMONTAGNE.jpg
Colin Lamontagne, 39, is six feet two inches tall and weighs 319 pounds. He has blue eyes and dark brown hair.

Investigators are looking for at least two people of interest in connection with the suspicious death of a 34-year-old man in a Fernwood apartment last week, but police have still not said whether they’re dealing with a homicide.

Victoria police and the Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit are investigating after Shaun Alexander McGregor was found dead in a second-floor suite in Fernwood Manor Apartments, 1575 Begbie St., on April 9.

Police originally said they were called to the apartment about 10 p.m. but on Wednesday said they were called about 7:30 p.m.

Sources tell the Times Colonist several intoxicated people were in the suite that night when an altercation broke out.

A person in the suite called police, but when officers arrived, they found just one man, who was unresponsive. The coroner pronounced him dead at the scene.

Investigators are looking for Chelse Burns, who may have information that could further the investigation, said Victoria police spokesman Const. Mike Russell. Russell could not say if Chelse is a tenant of the suite or how she might be connected to McGregor. It’s unclear how many people were living in the suite at the time.

Police are asking Burns, or anyone who knows her whereabouts, to call Victoria police on the non-emergency line at 250-995-7654 or anonymously through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

Police are also looking for Colin Lamontagne, a man with a criminal record and ties to Nanaimo, the Times Colonist has learned.

On Monday, Nanaimo RCMP issued a province-wide warrant for Lamontagne on outstanding gun and drug charges. The charges stem from a major drug bust at homes in Ladysmith and Nanaimo on Dec. 4, when police found clandestine labs producing GHB, also known as the date-rape drug.

Police said they found a significant amount of drugs, guns, weapons and stolen property.

Lamontagne was described as dangerous and unpredictable. Lamontagne is white, six-foot-two and 319 pounds. He has dark brown hair and blue eyes and may have a short stubble goatee.

Detectives continue to investigate McGregor’s death while they await autopsy results.

McGregor had an extensive criminal record for offences mostly in the Nanaimo area. He was in Nanaimo as recently as Jan. 25, when he was arrested for possession of stolen property.

He was connected to an incident in 2011 in which a 66-year-old Nanaimo woman was bitten by a police dog after McGregor tried to hide from police in her apartment.

McGregor’s is the second suspicious death being probed by Victoria police this year.

The body of Scott Owen Smith, 26, was found in the Inner Harbour on March 5, but his death has not been deemed a homicide.

The Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit is investigating four homicides in Greater Victoria this year, versus one homicide during the same period last year. Two of those homicides are unsolved.

Daniel Blake Penney is charged with second-degree murder in connection with the death of his wife, 46-year-old Caitlin Walton, who was found dead inside a home at 830 Queens Ave. in Victoria on March 13.

The major crime unit is also investigating the killing of Peter Hunter Thompson, who was found dead in his Victoria apartment in James Bay on Feb. 18. Police have not released the cause of death or said if they have any suspects.

Kyle Jansen, 29, died after being stabbed in the leg in an apparent drug-deal gone wrong on Jan. 14 in Langford. Daniel Thomas Phelps has been charged with manslaughter.

Investigators are still working to make an arrest in the death of 26-year-old Kyle Syrenne, who was brutally beaten on Feb. 21 while walking on a road on the Songhees First Nations reserve.

Detectives have said they’ve identified all parties involved but no charges have been announced.

This time last year, the one homicide was the killing of 77-year-old Rosa Desroches, who was found dead in her Cameo Street home in Saanich on March 18, 2014.

Her husband, 71-year-old Joseph Melvin Desroches, is charged with first-degree murder.

kderosa@timescolonist.com