Police are urging Markham residents to safeguard their homes and come forward with any information that could help catch three suspects wanted in a random and deadly home invasion.
“Given the very brutal nature of this crime, it goes without saying that the individuals that are responsible for the home invasion and the murder last night pose a very real danger to our community,” York Regional Police Chief Armand La Barge said Tuesday afternoon.
“These are, for all intensive purposes, residents that were just enjoying a nice night and suddenly three individuals burst into their homes and terrorized them.”
Monday night’s invasion left 53-year-old Bich-Ha Pan dead and her 57-year-old husband in hospital in serious condition.
The couple — who immigrated to Canada from Vietnam — has a 24-year-old daughter who was tied up by the intruders but unharmed. Their youngest child, a son, is reportedly studying in Hamilton and was not at home during the attack.
Police say three men entered the home, likely through the front door, and stayed for about half an hour, demanding cash. The daughter was taken upstairs after being tied up but her parents remained on the main level, where they were shot multiple times, police say.
The Pans’ daughter managed to free herself and call 911, bringing police to the scene within three minutes, according to La Barge. Her father also made his way to a next-door neighbour’s house, where he sought help.
“This is a very lucky man to be alive and if not for the grace of God, we could have been dealing with two homicides here,” La Barge said.
Police also said the intruders made off with some cash, but would not say how much.
Mamh Lang, who lives across the street, is terrified after Monday night’s events.
“I feel nervous now. I can’t sleep,” Lang said. “This happened to a good family, you know.”
Lang said the Pans were quiet and kept to themselves.
According to land registry records, the Pans’ home is registered to a Huei Hann Pan and Bich-Ha Pan, who bought the house in 2004.
Police say the Bich-Ha Pan was unemployed but her husband worked as a tool and die maker. According to La Barge, there is no reason so far to believe the Pans were targeted by the intruders.
“To shoot an innocent woman and to shoot an innocent man, I mean, that’s troubling,” he said.
Three suspects are now being sought, although police have not ruled out additional accomplices.
The first is described as a black man, 28 to 33 years old, 5-foot-7 with a medium build. The second is described as a 31-year-old black man, 5-foot-8 with a thin build. He was wearing a dark hoodie and bandana over his face.
Little is known about the third man except that he has a thin build and spoke with a Caribbean accent.
La Barge said there have been 10 home invasions in the area so far this year — already an increase from 2009, which had six. There are no apparent links between the attacks.
Police say they have no idea why intruders chose this particular home and said the Pans could even be victims of mistaken identity.
“Did somebody follow her home?” La Barge asked. “Did they just pick a house at random and say that’s the house tonight we’re going to get, and not knowing what they were going to encounter once they were in that front door?
“We just don’t know.”