Shots fired during road rage incident in Richmond

By Global News

WATCH:  Richmond RCMP are investigating an apparent case of road rage that ended with a bullet hole in a one car. Ted Chernecki explains how it all unfolded.

Reports indicate a road rage incident in Richmond may have escalated into violence Monday night.

Shortly after 8:30 p.m. Richmond RCMP responded to reports of shots fired in the area of Westminster Highway and Garden City Road.

They found a 22-year-old man from Richmond in a white, late-model, Toyota Corolla. Mounties say the man was not injured, but at least one bullet hole was found in the car.

A man was seen fleeing the scene in a dark-coloured sedan, speeding northbound on Garden City Road. Police are asking anyone who may have seen the car to contact them.

WATCH: Shots fired after road rage incident in Richmond

“At this point, we believe that the shooting was initiated by a driving altercation and it appears to have been taken to the extreme,” says Cpl. Dennis Hwang. “We are following up on a number of leads and going through surveillance footage. We are working with our law enforcement partners to see if there are connections to other recent shootings. We are extremely thankful that no one was injured.”

If you have any information on this crime, contact Cst. Perera at 604-278-1212. To leave a tip on this crime, or to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

Bidesi facing trial in Surrey murder gets 30 months jail for Richmond shooting

Sheila Reynolds-Surrey North Delta Leader

A convicted killer who was scheduled to go to trial this week in the murder of a Surrey man at a 2011 Christmas Eve party was recently found not guilty of the attempted murder of another man in Richmond.

Russell Bidesi, 24, is charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Bradley McPherson in Surrey. His trial for the McPherson murder was to begin Monday (Aug. 17), but was delayed when Bidesi’s defence lawyer withdrew.

Court documents indicate late last month Bidesi was found not guilty of attempted murder and convicted of a lesser charge in a Richmond case where he was accused of shooting another man in the chin.

In a July 24 B.C. Supreme Court decision, Bidesi was found guilty of attempting to cause bodily harm and was sentenced the following week to two-and-a-half years in prison.

It was early morning Nov. 20, 2011 – just over a month before McPherson was shot – that Bidesi and Harpreet Sandhu were at a hotel party in Richmond. Court heard that while they had a “cordial” relationship, the two got into an argument outside that turned into a brief altercation. One of Bidesi’s friend’s punched Sandhu and another pulled out a gun and waved it around.

Moments later, a cab pulled up and when Sandhu and his friends went to take it, Bidesi ran towards the taxi, carrying his friend’s gun. There was an argument and Bidesi pointed it at Sandhu. The gun fired, hitting him in the chin.

Bidesi argued he pulled the gun only to intimidate Sandhu and that it fired accidentally – a defence the judge did not buy.

But while Justice Barbara Fisher found the shooting was intentional, she said there were aspects of the evidence that raised doubts that Bidesi intended to kill Sandhu, resulting in the bodily harm conviction rather than attempted murder.

Crown recommended a 30-month sentence, while defence lawyer Darcy Lawrence sought an 18-month prison term.

“The Crown’s proposed sentence of 30 months is reasonable,” said Fisher in her reasons. “If Mr. Bidesi were being sentenced to the completed offence, I would consider a sentence at least in the three‑ to four‑year range. A sentence of 30 months … properly takes into account the nature of this offence as an attempt, in light of the serious circumstances in which it was committed.”

In May, Bidesi was also found guilty of manslaughter in another separate case where a 31-year-old Surrey man was shot to death.

Kacey Rogers was gunned down through the window of his home in 2012 during a home invasion. Bidesi was initially charged with second-degree murder in Rogers’ death, but convicted of the lesser charge of manslaughter. He’s scheduled to be sentenced in that case on Sept. 17.

His next court date in connection to the McPherson murder is Sept. 3, to fix a new trial date. Lawrence was initially going to defend Bidesi in that case as well, but said Monday he had to back out for ethical and professional reasons.

Bidesi has been in custody since February 2012.


Mike Howell, Vancouver Courier

It’s inevitable in his line of work.

Sooner rather than later, Sgt. Rob Faoro will receive a call-likely in the middle of the night-that someone has been murdered in the city.

The 16-year veteran homicide cop will respond with his team of eight investigators to determine how the person died, who was responsible and what motivated the violent death.

Sometimes, they will nab a suspect immediately. Other times, as in Sunday’s homicide at Seventh Avenue and Ash Street, the case may go cold for a while or never be solved. But as years go on the homicide beat, this year is shaping up to be one of the most successful for Faoro and the two other homicide teams that comprise the Vancouver Police Department.

Of the 13 homicides in 2011, police have successfully recommended charges in nine of the murders for a 69 per cent “solve rate,” according to Faoro, who said Monday he is optimistic about solving at least two of the remaining deaths. All nine cases with charges are before the courts.

“This is, right now, the best we’ve seen it in my 16 years,” said Faoro, noting the rate reached 75 per cent before Sunday’s killing of Axel Curtis, who is believed to have had ties to gangs. Last year’s solve rate was 56 per cent and 39 per cent in 2009.

Faoro, however, is realistic about this year’s rate holding at 69 per cent, knowing that a spate of gang violence or a random killing before the end of the year could knock the numbers back to previous levels. Though Sunday’s targeted shooting isn’t new ground for police, the reality of another homicide occurring this year was more likely in the 1990s when investigators dealt with 276 murders from 1990 to 1999.

Statistics for Vancouver reveal the number of murders has steadily decreased in the past decade, with the VPD recording an all-time low of 10 homicides in 2010.

The downward trend is evident across Canada, with police reporting 56 fewer homicides in 2010 than in 2009, according to a Statistics Canada report released last month. The report said the overall homicide rate was driven largely by fewer incidents in the western provinces, with the rate in B.C. falling to its lowest point since the mid-1960s.

Faoro pointed to police cracking down on gang violence and running sophisticated operations targeting high-profile gangsters as likely reasons for the decrease in homicides in the city. He’s also noticed a decline in the number of husband-wife, boyfriend-girlfriend homicides. “I remember in the ’90s, there were more of those,” Faoro said. “Now it’s rare that we have that type of violence anymore.”

But even with fewer homicides, the VPD continues to wrack up huge overtime bills in murder investigations. As of Oct. 19, homicide units spent $833,000 on overtime and that number could reach more than $1 million as investigators continue to search for suspects in four killings. Faoro revealed the overtime costs to the Vancouver Police Board last month to give board members a sense of how quickly the tab can add up for a homicide investigation. “Sounds like a lot of money but that was a relatively great deal,” said Faoro, who averaged out the cost of investigating the first 11 homicides of the year to $75,000 each in overtime; the tab doesn’t include the regular work hours of investigators, which can be a complicated calculation when factoring officers’ pay grids.

Despite the “great deal,” Faoro is worried the department’s $2.8 million criminal investigation fund used to cover overtime is quickly being drained. The fund is also relied upon by the department’s robbery/assault teams, the drug squad and sex crimes unit to investigate major crimes, including kidnappings.

So far, it hasn’t reached the point where the VPD’s executive has had to shuffle its operating budget or go to council begging for more money to increase the criminal investigation fund. And, Faoro said, he wanted to be clear that homicide investigations haven’t been curtailed because of budget constraints. “We don’t say no because it costs a lot of money,” he said. “But at the end of the day, we may have to say no because we can’t go find more money if there isn’t any more there. But, for the victims’ families, they’ve got to understand that for now we do spend the money.”

The police department’s cheapest overtime tab for a murder investigation this year was related to the death of 47-year-old Neil Andrew Barnett.

He became the city’s third homicide victim of the year when on the night of March 30 he was allegedly involved in an altercation in the 400-block of Carrall Street and fatally stabbed.

Police were led almost immediately to a suspect, keeping the overtime costs to $10,643. Jullian Reddock, 25, was charged with manslaughter.

Depending on the homicide case, overtime costs can increase for the investigators themselves and for forensic teams called out for several hours, days or weeks. So-called canvas teams can be required to knock on doors and search for evidence. Undercover work can play a part, as can wiretaps and DNA analysis. Police will also monitor murder suspects if they are granted bail.

The most expensive overtime tab to date involved the slaying of 36-year-old Jessica Eguia-Cornejo, who was found dead June 10 in her apartment in the 7400-block of Fraser Street.

It took police two months before announcing Aug. 8 that Anthony Blake Cruz of Richmond was arrested and charged with second-degree murder. Overtime costs, which included a forensic team spending five days at the victim’s apartment, totalled $173,343.

What continues to keep overtime costs mounting are the ongoing probes into Sunday’s gang-related homicide and the killings of Milad Nournia, Harpreet “Happy” Sandhu and Melanie O’Neill, whose body was discovered July 26 in her apartment on West 13th Avenue. The investigation into her death has reached $70,000 in overtime in October and continues to climb.

Nournia was the city’s first homicide victim of the year, having been gunned down Feb. 17 in the 1000-block of Hornby Street in what police said was a targeted shooting. Nournia, 26, was carrying a loaded handgun when he was shot.

The overtime tab, as of Oct. 19: $163,472.

Sandhu was killed July 25 after a gunman fired several shots into the 21-year-old’s back and left him lying in the 6900-block of Whithorn in Champlain Heights. The overtime tab, as of Oct. 19: $101,987.

Sandhu’s uncle, Lak Chahal, pleaded Nov. 4 at a press conference for the killer to turn himself in to police. Police say Sandhu was not involved in gang activity.

“This is a total senseless killing and the whole family is totally devastated,” Chahal said at the intersection where Sandhu was shot. “Happy was a good kid. I just want to make it clear that this has nothing to do with drugs or gangs.”

Often, the gang-related slayings, such as the Nournia and Curtis hits, are the most difficult to solve because of the code of silence among gangsters. It’s why the VPD has focused on targeting gangsters before the gunfire erupts.

Over the past couple of years, the VPD has led several investigations that resulted in the arrest of some of the city’s most notorious alleged gangsters, including Manny Buttar and Bobby Gill.

When police announced the results of Project Torrent in February 2010, Insp. Brad Desmarais of the VPD’s gangs and drugs section said police had “crippled” the Buttar and Gill organization.

Fourteen people were charged with 125 offences, including a woman who allegedly tried to hire members of the group to kill her ex-husband. The total cost of Project Torrent was $2.3 million.

Deputy Chief Warren Lemcke, who oversees the VPD’s investigations division, acknowledged that Project Torrent and similar projects such as Rebellion ($1.6 million) and Rescue ($785,000) were expensive but crucial to public safety.

Lemcke believes the decrease in homicides in the city over the past two years is related to the VPD’s work on stemming gang crime and that of integrated gang squads cracking down on gangsters in the Lower Mainland. “Gangsters are shooting gangsters, but what if somebody’s in the background?” he said during Faoro’s presentation to the police board.

“If we can prevent these shootings from happening in this city, we keep everybody safe. So it’s important to do these proactive investigations because these moron gangsters don’t care where they do their crime.”

Sunday’s homicide occurred at 9:30 a.m. at a busy intersection, a couple of blocks from the VPD’s Cambie Street station. Bullets reportedly hit an optical store on the boulevard where Curtis was shot to death.

But is the VPD’s work pushing gangsters out to the suburbs?

Though television news reports might give the impression that gangland slayings in the suburbs are a regular occurrence, the most recent statistics from the RCMP-led Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) say otherwise.

To date, IHIT has investigated 26 murders compared to 38 in 2010 and 56 in 2009. IHIT is the largest homicide unit in Canada and responsible for 26 RCMP detachments and both the New Westminster and Abbotsford municipal police departments.

The unit’s jurisdiction extends from Pemberton to Boston Bar and the Sunshine Coast to the Coquihalla Highway, covering an area of about 2.5 million people.

Sgt. Jennifer Pound, the media relations officer for IHIT, said combatting gang violence that results in homicides is a focus in detachments and departments across the country. “It’s a policing priority, no matter where you are,” Pound said. “It’s not just in the city but police departments everywhere are looking at gang-related issues and organized crime.”

Even so, Pound said she couldn’t speculate exactly why homicides have decreased in Vancouver, in B.C. and across the country, although Edmonton’s gang problem has seen more than 40 murders this year.

Despite the downward trend in homicides, Pound said IHIT could always use more money and officers for the unit, which was created in 2003. “At the end of the day, it’s not about the money-it’s about the families that you’re working with,” she said. “But it’s tough to balance that. You have these obligations to solve this, but yeah it costs and money does come into play.”

Robert Gordon, the director of Simon Fraser University’s criminology department, said the $833,000 in overtime costs for the VPD’s homicide investigations suggests to him the department needs more officers.

“If they’re having to pour that amount of extra money into investigations, it means that police officers working on these cases are working long hours,” Gordon said.

But, Gordon added, it’s difficult to put a price on capturing a killer for the sake of the victim’s family. As well, spending millions of dollars on special projects that target known gangsters is understood when gunplay in the streets puts innocent bystanders at risk, he added.

“Where a community has that kind of activity taking place, obviously robust police action is more than warranted,” said Gordon, referring to the 14 gang-related homicides that occurred in late 2007 and throughout 2008 in Vancouver.

One of the most costly homicide investigations to date for the VPD was finding the killer of 18-year-old Poonam Randhawa, who was shot dead Jan. 26, 1999 in an alley near Granville and West 47th Avenue.

It took 12 years for investigators to find suspect Ninderjit Singh, who was arrested Aug. 19 in San Jacinto, Calif. Police said Singh attempted to conceal his identity by gaining weight, growing a beard and wearing a turban.

The cost of the investigation just over the past two years totalled $550,000, said Faoro, who wouldn’t speculate on the total cost of the 12-year probe. But it is a case, Faoro said, that demonstrates how determined investigators are to bring some peace to a family, no matter what the cost. “There are certain cases that every investigator has that are dear to you-that you can’t leave the [homicide] section until you solve those,” he said. “I have a couple and I deal with the parents on a regular basis. I have one person who phones me weekly, and it kills me. My family knows about it. My friends know about it, my team knows about it.”

Added Faoro: “That Randhawa one was dear to everybody here. She was an innocent young woman.”

The Randhawa family released a statement after the arrest, saying “we are forever grateful to the Vancouver Police Department for never giving up on us over the past 12 years.”


Phone Scammers Using ‘Delta Police Department’ Name to Target Residents

Delta: Police in delta are warning public about phone scams in Delta and Surrey.

Phone scammers are once again at work in Delta, but this time they’re using the ‘Delta Police Department’ name to target residents in one of two scams currently circulating.

In the first scam, the fraudsters claim to be fundraising for the “Delta Police Anti-bullying Initiative”.  The callers are using and unidentified or blocked telephone number and requesting credit card donations for the “Initiative”.  The scammers are looking to obtain the victim’s credit card info.

As a reminder to residents, while we do take part in anti-bullying programs, there is NO “Delta Police Anti-Bullying Initiative” run by the DPD and we do not solicit donations via phone or email.

The second scam is a well-documented one in which scammers call (or email) potential victims pretending to be from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).  The goal of these scams is to access your personal and/or banking information and put it in the hands of the scammers.

Often, the scammers add an air of legitimacy to their scam by using phone spoofing apps or programs that allow them to display callback numbers legitimately associated to the businesses they pretend to be calling from.

You can read more about the CRA scams at the Canada Revenue Agency website.

To protect yourself against scammers:

  • Never provide personal information over the phone unless you are speaking to a trusted, confirmed source;
  • Do your research: before providing any personal information or donating any money hang up and double check the information through sources you trust and have identified yourself;
  • Do not click on any links in unsolicited emails;
  • If in doubt, delete the email or hang up the phone;
  • Report attempted frauds to your local police department even if you did not lose any money: your reports can help us warn and protect others.

Police searching for woman caught on video stealing flowers from London, Ont., grave

The Canadian Press|

LONDON, Ont. — An unknown woman in London, Ont., has been caught on video repeatedly stealing flowers from a gravestone.

The video recently posted on Facebook by Marg Allerston-Medeiros has gone viral, with the U.K.’s The Mirror and other international news outlets reporting on the thief ransacking her late mother’s grave.

Since the death of Allerston-Medeiros’s mother in April at the age of 86, she says someone has been stealing mementoes, flowers and other items from the grave.

Allerston-Medeiros set up a secret camera in the cemetery and caught a slim, blonde woman who looks to be in her 20s stealing flowers from the grave.

The woman and police in London, Ont., are asking for the public’s help in identifying the suspect, who appears to be smiling as she scurries off with her gravestone haul.

In a recent interview with AM980, Allerston-Medeiros said she has no idea why the thief has targeted her mother’s grave.

“I go a lot, almost every day, both to water the flowers that are there or to take pictures and let my big family know that, again, it’s been ransacked.”

Brief court appearance for son of former BC MLA charged in fentanyl bust

National/CTV News

Canadian Press

CALGARY – The son of a former British Columbia MLA charged in a fentanyl bust in Calgary has made a brief court appearance.

Kasimir Tyabji-Sandana, who is 27, is charged with one count of importing a controlled substance and will remain in custody until his next court appearance on Sept. 16.

The Calgary man’s lawyer is working on setting a date for a bail hearing.

Police intercepted a package marked as a muffler from China last month at Vancouver’s International Mail Centre.

It was addressed to someone in Calgary and contained 122 grams of pure fentanyl, a synthetic opioid used primarily to treat severe pain.

Judi Tyabji was the youngest MLA in the B.C. legislature when she was elected in 1991 and went on to become the first woman to have a child while in office.

The man accused of importing a large quantity of fentanyl into the Calgary area appeared in court on Monday via CCTV.

Kasimir Tyabji, 27, has been in custody since he was arrested in July after a border agent in Vancouver found powdered fentanyl inside a parcel that was marked ‘muffler’.

RCMP and Calgary police launched an investigation and executed a search warrant on a home in the 2400 block of 14 Street SW on July 22.

Police seized 122 grams of fentanyl with an estimated street value of $348,000 and charged Tyabji with one count of importing a controlled substance.

On Monday, the case was put over so both sides can make a decision on whether or not to apply for bail.

Health officials and police say fentanyl is often mixed with other drugs and can be fatal in very small doses.

According to Alberta Health Services, 145 people have died in Alberta from fentanyl overdoses so far this year.

Police say they have dealt with 34 incidents involving fentanyl seizures so far, compared to 12 in all of 2014.

Tyabji will be back in court on September 16

PM Modi relives Madison Square Garden moment, woos Indian diaspora in UAE

Dubai, Aug. 17: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday wooed the Indian diaspora in the UAE, saying that he saw a mini India in Dubai where all Indians living in the gulf nation are connected to each and every corner of India.

The crowd cheered the Prime Minister as he praised the NRIs for their praiseworthy conduct and their perseverance in everyday endeavours.

“I can see a ‘mini India’ in front of me. I salute all Indians, who have come from every corner of UAE. You are among those who are earning livelihood here for 15-20 years and continue to make India proud through your conduct,” he said while addressing the Indian diaspora in the Dubai Cricket Stadium.

“People from Kerala are in UAE in large numbers. And I am especially talking about them due to the New Year festival today. Dubai is not just ‘mini India’ but a ‘mini world’. People from across the world live here. Even those from the coldest region come in the country despite hot temperature,” he added.

The Prime Minister’s speech was punctuated with the chants of ‘Modi Modi’ which the packed stadium erupted into every time he paused.

Amid the chants, the Prime Minister conveyed that he is overwhelmed by the love Dubai has given him.

“His Highness Crown Prince came to receive me at the airport with all his five brothers. But this love is not just for me. It is the welcome of the 1.25 crore people of India, it is the respect for a change India,” he said.

Recalling when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister and India had carried out nuclear tests that had stunned the whole world, Prime Minister Modi said, “Sanctions were imposed overnight on India, we were pushed into trouble. It was then that Vajpayee had asked Indians across the globe to help India. Today, I can proudly say, Vajpayee’s request of helping India has been fulfilled by Indians in Gulf countries.”

The Prime Minister emphasized that the world’s inclination towards India has increased, adding that Indians must take advantage of this and take the nation to new heights of development. (ANI)

PM Modi arrives in Abu Dhabi to warm welcome by Crown Prince

Abu Dhabi, Aug. 16 (ANI):  Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived at the Abu Dhabi Presidential Airport on Sunday for his maiden official visit to the gulf nation.

Upon his arrival, he was received by the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

There was a ceremonial greeting for Prime Minister Modi, who was accompanied out of the airport by the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.

Prime Minister Modi then met with the UAE dignitaries and exchanged pleasantries with them.

This is the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister to the gulf nation in 34 years.

Indian ambassador to UAE, T.P. Seetharam, had yesterday said that Prime Minister Modi’s visit can open up great possibilities and deepen existing relations.

“The diplomacy gets a boost when the Prime Minister of a country comes for a visit. A visit like this would open up greater possibilities for the huge Indian community here,” Seetharam said. (ANI)

Kejriwal Govt. to waive off electricity bills of defaulters

By Ashutosh Mishra

New Delhi, Aug. 16 (ANI): The Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Government, which had earlier given a subsidy of 50 percent in electricity tariff, has come up with a resolution aimed at bringing relief to the people facing disputes with the power companies (discoms).

Under this scheme, all criminal and civil proceedings related to electricity disputes will be withdrawn.

Following the complains regarding alleged inflated bills, defected meters and penalties imposed and theft cases, the government has planned a massive drive to ensure that the power companies provide early resolution to such grievances.

The Delhi Government would launch a one-time settlement scheme to provide relief to the consumers of the national capital. The scheme would lead to minimizing power theft and reduce the aggregate technical and commercial losses in Delhi and allow them to settle their cases amicably outside the court.

As per the scheme, the consumers residing in JJ clusters who could not pay their dues in the past will be charged Rs. 250 per month only for the period for which they have not paid the dues. The late payment surcharged would also be fully waived off. The dues can be settled in the period of six months, as per the government.

However, the domestic consumers with load up to 11KW who are booked for direct theft of electricity ,will be waived off their two-third of outstanding amount and 100 percent late payment surcharge will also be waived off when they come to settle their dues.

In the case of meter tampering, the small and medium domestic commercial consumers booked for offence of meter tampering will be allowed wavier of 100 percent in the late payment surcharge and two-third of their outstanding dues during their final settlement with the power companies.

The bill of the consumers, who have been booked for misuse and unauthorized use of electricity, will be waived off by 50 percent as per the scheme.

The government, which is to expected to make a formal announcement in this regard next week, has asked the discoms to implement the scheme by organizing special camps.

Taking your company on social media may have side effects

Washington DC, Aug 16 (ANI): Think twice before taking your company to social media to engage with customers, as a new study has revealed that companies which respond to complains on social media have a risk of triggering new complaints.

In the study, the authors examined the history of compliments and complaints by several hundred consumers of a major telecommunications services provider made on Twitter and the company’s responses.

They examined the history of compliments and complaints by several hundred consumers of a major telecommunications services provider made on Twitter and the company’s responses.

Liye Ma of the University of Maryland said that people complained on Twitter not just to vent their frustration, but also in the hope of getting the company’s attention.

Ma added that once the consumers know that the company was paying attention, they were more ready to complain the next time around.

The study also investigates the influence of friends on social media i.e. hearing more positive words from friends improves a customer’s relationship with the company.

On the other hand, the customer reaction to voices can go either way: in certain cases the customer feels the need to agree with friends and compliment them, while at other times the customer disagrees with friends and complains.

Ma concluded that what people say about a company on social media did reflect their true perceptions, but only to a certain extent, adding that there were other important factors that affect what they say, the company’s past responses to complaints being one of them.

The study is published in the journal Marketing Science. (ANI)