Vikram Toor and Ashim Raza killed in Friday-night shooting in Surrey

By GLENDA LUYMES

Two young men are dead after a shooting Friday evening in Surrey.

Police were called to 159th Street and 110th Avenue just before 7:30 p.m. and found 19-year-old Ashim Raza and 24-year-old Vikram Toor suffering from gunshot wounds. One of them was pronounced dead at the scene, while the other was taken to hospital, where he later died.

According to a homicide team press release, investigators believe the shooting was independent from the gangland violence that has rocked the Lower Mainland in recent weeks.

Two men were shot while inside a car near the intersection of 159 St. and 110 Ave. on Friday night in Surrey.

“It is early in the investigation, but police are making every effort to establish the motive for the shooting,” said Cpl. Meghan Foster. “We ask that the public exercise vigilance, while we work to find justice for our victims and their families.”

The shooting happened in Fraser Heights, a quiet, family-oriented neighbourhood north of Highway 1, near an elementary school, playground and sports fields.

Photos from the scene show what appears to be a body covered by a yellow tarp hanging out of a vehicle with a window blown out. A box of firecrackers appears to be resting beside the car.

The homicide happened hours after the province’s public safety minister Mike Morris made a statement reassuring the public that police are working tirelessly to try to put an end to a recent string of gang-related violence.

Police have linked two killings and several shootings this month to gang involvement.

There have been 56 shootings in Surrey so far this year.

Surrey RCMP arrest six males allegedly linked to gun violence

Metro Vancouver — It was with “a joyful heart” that Surrey’s mayor joined the officer in charge of the Surrey RCMP on Monday to announce that police had made more headway in the fight against street-level gun violence in the city.

“Today is a day to say we’ve made another round of significant progress with these most recent arrests,” Linda Hepner told reporters.

On Friday, investigators arrested six males linked to a conflict over drug turf involving low-level members of two groups of dial-a-dopers.

Police released the names and photos of four men who have been arrested and charged. Baltej Singh Gill, 18, of Surrey, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit the indictable offence of recklessly discharging a firearm. Gill was previously arrested in connection with an unrelated incident and charged with four firearms offences. Himmat Singh Virk, 18, of Surrey, is charged with two counts of conspiracy. Randeep Singh Johal, 18, of Surrey, is charged with one count of conspiracy. Manpreet Michael Johal, 24, of Delta, is charged with two counts of conspiracy.

Also charged is a 16-year-old young offender, who cannot be named because he was under the age of 18 at the time of the alleged offences. The Surrey youth is charged with four firearms-related offences. A sixth man — a 24-year-old from Surrey — has been arrested but has not yet been charged. His name was not released.

Assistant Commissioner Bill Fordy, who is also the acting officer in charge of Surrey RCMP, said the men were arrested after they were “strategically targeted” by police.

Investigators received information that individuals had plans to commit a drive-by shooting. Surrey RCMP teamed up with the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit and Lower Mainland emergency response team to investigate and conduct the arrests.

“These arrests and charges stem from an ongoing investigation — a series of ongoing investigations that flow directly from shots fired complaints and incidents that have played out on our streets over the past five months,” Fordy said.

Fordy told reporters that he’s confident that there will be more announcements about arrests related to the conflict the coming months.

Public safety is a priority, Fordy said, and he believes these arrests have prevented further violence from playing out on Surrey streets, where there have been a total of 51 shootings — both related and unrelated to the conflict — since the beginning of 2016.

He said that since March, there have been 30 arrests related to the conflict. Fifteen firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition have been seized. He could not say how many charges have been laid against those individuals. Their cases are currently before the courts.

Hepner said the next step is for the courts to deal appropriately with those who are convicted of gun-related crimes in Surrey. She said she has spoken to federal and provincial politicians on the subject.

“I think that what is happening now on our streets is so unacceptable that when these folks get before the courts I hope the courts recognize the severity of a crime utilizing a gun on city streets and come down with a full — with some very significant acknowledgment in the punishment phase of this should all of those who are currently before the courts be found guilty,” she said.

Surrey-Tynehead MLA Amrik Virk, who is also a former police officer, said he thinks all people in society generally want to see the toughest possible sentence imposed.

“I expect the full weight of the law to come down upon these individuals,” he said.

Man dead after ‘targeted attack’ in Surrey

By CHERYL CHAN & DAN FUMANO

Cops are investigating a Saturday night shooting in Surrey that left one man dead and another in hospital.
Police responded to a report of shots fired shortly after 10:15 p.m. Saturday night in the 14300 block of 90A Avenue, according to a release from the Surrey RCMP. The officers who responded found two men in their late 20s suffering from gun shot wounds, and they were transported to hospital by ambulance. By Sunday morning, one of the men had died.
The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team is investigating the incident, which they called a “targeted attack,” they announced via Twitter Sunday morning.
In a statement issued Sunday afternoon, IHIT spokeswoman Staff Sgt. Jennifer Pound said: “While we believe this to be a targeted shooting, police are working on confirming the motive for this attack and finding who is responsible.”
Police were trying to complete next-of-kin notification before the identity of the deceased was released, the IHIT statement said.
One neighbour said her family heard shots ring out and saw a vehicle speeding away from the house next-door.
“We were terrified of what just happened,” said the woman who did not want her name published.
The two people injured could be seen at the driveway, she said. One of them lived in the house.
“We’ve seen some of them around,” she said, adding the family are nice people and respectful neighbours.
“It’s a really quiet peaceful neighbourhood. For something like that to happen, it’s uncommon,”
Another neighbour Jagjot Atwal wasn’t home when the shooting occurred. He said it was the first such incident in the neighbourhood in the five years he’s lived there.
Surrey has seen a rash of gun violence in 2016, with more than 45 shootings so far this year in the city.
Karen Reid Sidhu, executive director of the Surrey Crime Prevention Society, praised the work of local police, but said the country’s legal system seems to allow violent, dangerous offenders to keep returning to the streets after being caught and convicted in some cases.
“I think the RCMP and the city is doing a great job based on the resources they have available to them, and at this point, the RCMP have made many arrests related to the activity going on in the city,” said Reid Sidhu. “Sometimes it seems like individuals get out and they’re on probation, or they’re on bail, and they’ve been found with weapons, and it seems a little ironic that they’re getting out.”
“I think maybe our judicial system needs to be revisited,” she said.
Anyone with information is asked to call the IHIT tipline at 1-877-551-4448, or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Surrey RCMP investigate shots fired

Surrey RCMP is investigating the shooting scene in the 14300 block of 90A Avenue for a report of shots fired on Saturday.

At approximately 10:19 pm on July 23, 2016, Surrey RCMP responded to a report of shots fired in the 14300 block of 90A Avenue. Officers attended and located two victims suffering from gun shot wounds who have been transported for medical treatment.

Officers are on scene conducting neighbourhood canvassing and speaking to witnesses to obtain further information regarding this incident.

This investigation is still in its very early stages.

Anyone with further information who has not already spoken to police is asked to contact Surrey RCMP at 604-599-0502 or if they wish to remain anonymous, Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or www.solvecrime.ca quoting file number 2016-105628

APD Investigating Shooting

Abbotsford: bPolice in Abbotsford responded to shooting on Saturday, July 23, 2016 at 2:10 am in the area of  Blue Jay Street and Cardinal Avenue.  Several  911 calls reported both shots fired and a single vehicle crash.  APD Patrol Division officers and Emergency Response Team members arrived on scene and located a 23-year-old man inside a Cadillac Escalade with gunshot wounds.  The man was transported to hospital where he remains and is receiving treatment for serious injuries.  The vehicle he was driving collided with a power pole and went off the roadway prior to police arrival.

APD Major Crime detectives, Forensic Identification Unit members, Collision Reconstructionists and Patrol Division members continue to investigate and roads in the area will be closed for several hours. The public is being asked to use alternate routes.

Anyone with information about this incident should contact the Abbotsford Police Department at 604-859-5225 or text us at 222973 (abbypd) or call Crime Stoppers at

1-800-222-8477.

Multiple arrests following ongoing drug trafficking investigation

Wanted by Police: Ravinder Samra of Surrey,  Hazim Hazim of Surrey, Priya Sandhu of Richmond, Abdulhamid Sultan of Surrey and four others 

Surrey RCMP advises that a number of arrests have been made of individuals alleged to be involved in ongoing drug trafficking operations in Surrey and Richmond .
On May 25th Surrey RCMP’s Drug Unit arrested eight individuals simultaneously at multiple locations throughout Surrey. The arrests were in relation to an ongoing investigation that began last year into a dial-a-dope drug trafficking operation in Surrey and Richmond. Evidence consistent with street level drug trafficking including cash, phones, and varying amounts of controlled substances were located during the course of this initial investigation. Four of the individuals arrested were wanted on outstanding warrants for drug trafficking, while the remaining four individuals will be facing a number of drug related charges.
As a result of this investigation, the following wanted persons and are now in police custody:
Ravinder SAMRA, (29 year old male, from Surrey) –  Trafficking X 1
Hazim HAZIM (20 year old male, from Surrey) – Trafficking X 2
Tony TRAN (30 year old male, from Surrey) – Trafficking X 2
Peter BUTCHER (52 year old male, from Surrey) – Trafficking X 3

These arrests are part of the Surrey RCMP’s proactive enforcement strategy aimed at targeting individuals involved in the drug trade and the threat it brings to public safety. Following a spate of violence last spring tied to the low-level drug trade, the Surrey RCMP launched a concentrated effort to arrest those involved in drug trafficking in Surrey.

“Today’s arrests are part of a larger strategy to decrease the violence in our city caused by the dangerous activities of drug traffickers plying their illegal trade on our streets,” says Surrey RCMP Proactive Enforcement Officer, Inspector Shawna Baher. “The Surrey RCMP continues to advance investigations on a number of individuals that pose the most significant risk to public safety. We are also involved in a number of prevention efforts to address the root causes of the violence seen in Surrey.”

Further arrests are anticipated as the investigation continues, however, the Surrey RCMP is seeking additional information on the following individuals wanted on drug trafficking charges:

Priya SANDHU (23 year old female, from Richmond) – Trafficking X 2
Abdulhamid SULTAN (20 year old male, from Surrey) – Trafficking X 1
James GRIFFITHS (43 year old male, from Surrey) – Trafficking X 11
Layla LOW (22 year old female, from Surrey) – Trafficking X 5

Anyone with further information on the activities of these individuals is asked to contact the Surrey RCMP at 604-599-0502 or Crime Stoppers, if they wish to remain anonymous, at 1-800-222-TIPS or go to www.solvecrime.ca.

WSO Welcomes Komagata Maru Apology- Calls for Inclusion in School Curricula

Ottawa (May 18, 2016):  The World Sikh Organization of Canada welcomes today’s apology by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on behalf of the Government of Canada for the Canadian Government’s decision in 1914 to refuse entry to the Komagata Maru.  The ship, carrying 376 mostly Sikh passengers from Punjab, British India was turned away after two months of being refused entry at the Vancouver ports.  The WSO has reached out to provincial minsters of education across Canada, calling for the Komagata Maru tragedy and the racist immigration policy behind the incident to be made part of school curricula.

The Komagata Maru and its passengers, despite being British subjects, were denied entry due to racist immigration controls established by the Canadian government to exclude non-European immigrants.  In response to race riots and “anti-Asiatic” parades, driven by fears that Canada would be overrun by Asian immigration, the Canadian government passed an Order in Council in 1908 prohibiting immigration of individuals who did not come to Canada via a continuous journey from their country of birth or citizenship.  In effect, this law prohibited the entry of all immigrants from India, as a continuous voyage was not possible without a stopover. Other Orders in Council also prohibited the landing of Asian immigrants that did not possess $200 upon arrival.  At the same time, Canada was welcoming record levels of European immigration.

While Prime Minister Trudeau’s apology in the House of Commons recognizes the “dark chapter” the Komagata Maru incident as well as the exclusionary and racist immigration laws represent in Canadian history, it is important that this chapter is neither forgotten nor ignored.  The WSO has written to provincial ministers calling for the Komagata Maru incident to be included in school curricula across the country.

WSO President Mukhbir Singh said today, “Prime Minster Trudeau’s apology in the House of Commons today is a historic moment for Canadian Sikhs and recognizes the dark chapter the Komagata Maru tragedy marks in Canada’s history.  While Canada is today a model of multiculturalism and inclusivity, it is important for us to understand that it was not always.   We believe it is essential that the Komagata Maru incident, as well as the anti-immigrant sentiment that fueled this incident, be made a part of our provincial education curricula. It is important that we as Canadians teach our youngsters to confront issues such as racism and xenophobia and learning about the Komagata Maru incident is an excellent opportunity to do so.”

Komagata Maru apology: Ship’s story represents ‘dark chapter’ of Canada’s past

Justin Trudeau to apologize for Canada’s 1914 decision to turn away steamship carrying 376 migrants

By Amy Husser, CBC News

It’s an apology more than a century in the making.

Nearly 102 years after the Komagata Maru sailed into Vancouver, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has offered a full apology in the House of Commons for the government of the day’s decision to turn away the ship, which was carrying hundreds of South Asian immigrants, most of whom were Sikhs.

The Komagata Maru arrived on Canada’s West Coast on May 23, 1914, anchoring in Vancouver’s Coal Harbour. Nearly all of the 376 passengers were denied entry and the ship sat in the harbour for two months. It was ultimately forced to return to India and was met by British soldiers. Twenty passengers were killed and others jailed following an ensuing riot.

 “The passengers of the Komagata Maru, like millions of immigrants to Canada since, were seeking refuge and better lives for their families. With so much to contribute to their new home, they chose Canada and we failed them utterly,” Trudeau said last month, announcing the formal apology.

“As a nation, we should never forget the prejudice suffered by the Sikh community at the hands of the Canadian government of the day. We should not and we will not.”

Here’s a closer look at what the prime minister described as a “dark chapter” in our history:

Setting sail

The Komagata Maru was a Japanese steamship chartered by wealthy Sikh businessman, Gurdit Singh, who was then living in Hong Kong. Its passage was a direct challenge to Canada’s immigration rules, which had grown increasingly strict — and discriminatory — at the turn of the century.

Canada needed immigrants to cultivate western farmland but preferred those from the U.S, Britain or northern Europe.

India had been a British colony for almost 200 years at this point, and Singh believed British citizens should be able to freely visit any country in the Commonwealth.

Komagata Maru passengers

Passengers from the Komagata Maru, shown in 1914. (James L. Quiney/City of Vancouver Archives)

The steamship departed Hong Kong on April 4, 1914, making stops in Shanghai and Japan. Previously used to transport coal, the Komagata Maru had been transformed for the long journey.

Word of the ship’s intended destination quickly reached Vancouver, where anti-Asian sentiment was already in full swing. Local newspaper headlines of the day decried its arrival as a “Hindu invasion.”

In Vancouver, the Komagata Maru was immediately greeted by immigration officials who refused to let its passengers disembark. Twenty people determined to be returning residents were eventually permitted entry, but no one else stepped foot off the boat.

Why was it stopped?

“The reality is Canada kept all kinds of people out,” says Hugh Johnston, a retired Simon Fraser University history professor who wrote The Voyage of the Komagata Maru: The Sikh Challenge to Canada’s Colour Bar. “Up until the 1960s, it was very hard for people from outside of northern Europe and the United States to come to Canada.”

By the early 1900s, British Columbia was home to about 2,000 Indians, mainly Punjabi Sikhs, who had come for work. They were some of the first Asian immigrants.

Canada instituted the Chinese Immigration Act in 1885, which included a head tax, to try to limit arrivals from the East Asian country.

By 1907, race riots and “anti-Asiatic” parades were taking place, spurred by fears that immigration would allow Asia’s large population to overrun Canada’s West Coast.

li-komagatamaru-620

The Komagata Maru sits in Vancouver’s Coal Harbour in 1914. The ship became a spectacle for locals during its two-month stay at the waterfront.

British Columbians, Johnston says, were “very aware” of the established South Asian population. “They were more excited about this than the numbers warranted,” he says. “Ignorance about India would have been colossal.”

In response, Canada passed the Continuous Passage Act in 1908, requiring all immigrants to arrive directly from their point of origin, with no stops in between — a near-impossible task for those travelling from South Asia.

Immigrants from this region also needed to arrive with $200 in landing money, not dissimilar to rules still in place today intended to ensure new arrivals can support themselves, but fees back then varied from one population to the next.

In chartering the Komagata Maru, Singh was testing these new rules, though he may not have shared his strategy with his passengers. And as British subjects, they didn’t believe they were subject to the $200 landing fee.

These laws remained on the books until 1947.

Ship’s retreat

During the two months the Komagata Maru sat in the harbour, the ship became a spectacle, with near-daily newspaper reports of developments and crowds of hundreds gathering at the waterfront to gawk.

The Komagata Maru was formally ordered out in July. On the 19th, 125 Vancouver police officers and 35 special immigration agents attempted to board the vessel but were beaten back.

Four days later, on July 23, under the guns of the naval cruiser HMCS Rainbow, the Komagata Maru was escorted out to sea and began the journey to Calcutta.

Calls for an apology

Johnston began researching his book in the late 1970s, only a few years after Canada opened up its immigration policies, and says very few people had heard of the Komagata Maru at that time.

CANADA-ELECTION/

Justin Trudeau speaks to a supporter at the 20th Annual Mela Gadri Babian Da Sikh cultural festival in Surrey, B.C., on Aug. 2, 2015. The Liberal leader promised a formal apology for the Komagata Maru incident at that time. (REUTERS/Ben Nelms)

But Canada’s South Asian population now sits at 1.6 million, according to the 2011 Census, with India being the third most-common source country for recent immigrants.

“The consciousness has come as the number of South Asians in this country has increased,” Johnston says. “I know people who have [come] to Canada in the last 10 or 15 years and had no knowledge of this story. Then they find out about it and inevitably … are immensely disappointed that this is in Canada’s past.”

The Prof. Mohan Singh Memorial Foundation, founded in 1990, has been lobbying for an apology for nearly 25 years, working with local, provincial and federal politicians.

The importance of an official apology, group spokesman Herman Thind says, is “rooted in fairness.”

2008 apology

In 1988, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney formally apologized to those sent to Japanese internment camps in the 1940s, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued official apologies for the Chinese head tax in 2006 and to residential school survivors in 2008.

The B.C. government formally apologized for the Komagata Maru incident in May 2008 and a monument was unveiled on Vancouver’s seawall in 2012, funded by the federal government.

But Harper stopped short of a formal apology in August 2008, when he instead apologized at a Sikh gathering of 8,000 in Surrey, B.C., home of the country’s largest Indo-Canadian population.

Harper 20080803

Stephen Harper speaks at the 13th Annual Mela Gadri Babian Da in Surrey, B.C., on Aug. 3, 2008, when he apologized for the Komagata Maru incident. Many attendees roundly rejected the apology, saying it should have been made in the Commons. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

Many in attendance immediately rejected the apology, saying it needed to be done on the floor of the House of Commons. The Prof. Mohan Singh Memorial Foundation, which organized Harper’s appearance, had made it “very clear” only a formal apology would be acceptable, Thind says.

“It’s always been about having an official apology written into Hansard so that it is on the public record,” he adds. “To us, that just amounted to a political statement made in an election year.”

The Liberals have been pushing for a formal apology for years and Trudeau made pre-election promises to do so in both 2014 and 2015.

Thind says his organization expects tomorrow to be a “huge celebration” with 500 people in attendance. The group, meanwhile, will continue to push for the Komagata Maru story to be included in Canadian curricula.

“If we’re to call ourselves a multicultural land, not a melting pot, then we really need to have a discussion about some of the struggles that other cultures had in coming to Canada.”

With files from the Canadian Press

Man shot near Bear Creek Park in Surrey’s 31st shooting of 2016

By Amy Reid – Surrey Now

NEWTON — A man was sent to hospital after a car was shot up near Bear Creek Park Monday afternoon as Surrey’s relentless shooting spree continues.

Surrey has recorded 31 shootings this year so far. This is the third shooting in just three days.

Police were on scene at 86A Avenue and 140th Street at about 2:30 p.m. Monday afternoon after reports of shots being fired. A black BMW at the scene had its window shot out.

Police say a man who appears to have been shot was found at the scene and taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Police have no suspects at this time and believe this was a targeted incident.

On Sunday, just before 6 p.m., gunfire rang out at the corner of 88th Avenue and 132nd Street. Surrey RCMP believes two vehicles were stopped at a red light when someone in an SUV fired multiple shots at a car. Police say the suspect’s vehicle was last seen travelling south on 132nd Street from 88th Avenue.

No injuries have been reported. Police say they have no suspects and have made no arrests and don’t know if these latest shootings are linked to the others.

Before that, on Saturday at about 8 p.m., Surrey RCMP received several reports of shots being fired in the 12200-block of 92nd Avenue, near Kirkbride Elementary. Police say a man was shot but he is expected to survive. A vehicle was seen driving away from the area but police do not have a description of it.

On Friday, Surrey RCMP revealed a jaw-dropping 28 “shots-fired incidents” since Jan. 1. That’s half of last year’s entire tally in the first three months of 2016.

During Friday’s press conference, Supt. Manny Mann said the increase in gunfire is “understandably causing concern for the public and the police.”

Police say most are related to the drug trade and a handful of the 30 incidents are believed to be connected to a new drug war different from last year’s dial-a-dope turf war.

There has so far been three arrests related to the incidents. Police haven’t put a name to the two new groups but characterized them as low-level players.

Mann appealed to people with information to “do the right thing” and call police.

More action needed to combat gun violence: Surrey MLA

BY KIM BOLAN, VANCOUVER SUN

As Opposition MLAs grilled B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Morris in question period Monday about escalating gun violence, Surrey RCMP was responding to the 31st shooting of 2016.

And Burnaby RCMP announced that homicide investigators were being called in after the body of a shooting victim was discovered on Byrne Creek Trail.

Surrey MLA Bruce Ralston said police are not doing enough to tackle the violence, which is linked to Metro Vancouver’s drug trade.

“They are not solving these cases. The violence is accelerating,” Ralston said in an interview. “That’s what people are really worried about. It’s not just a low-level background noise. It is a major ongoing threat to public safety in neighbourhoods in Surrey and in Burnaby, for that matter.”

Since senior Surrey Mounties told reporters Friday that they had implemented successful strategies to combat the violence, there have been three more incidents of public gunplay.

The latest came just before 2 p.m. Monday near 86th Avenue and 140th Street.

Cpl. Scotty Schumann said officers responded to 911 calls and found “evidence of shots being fired in the area and a male suffering from a gunshot wound.”

“The male was taken to local hospital with what is believed to be non-life threatening injuries,” Schmumann said. “Initial indications are that this is a targeted incident.”

The Monday shooting follows two others over the weekend, one of which left a man with serious injuries.

There were 60 shootings in Surrey in all of 2015.

Meanwhile the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team was called to the 7300-block of Sandborne Avenue in Burnaby after a body was found Monday.

Burnaby RCMP said officers responded to the area about 8 p.m. Sunday after reports of shots fired.

“When members arrived on scene they began a search of the area including the Byrne Creek Trail that continued until the following morning. Police confirm a body has now been located,” Sgt. Derek Thibodeau said.

“We do not believe this incident is connected to any other ongoing Burnaby RCMP investigation.”

Ralston said the RCMP should be asked hard questions about their tactics in investigating the shootings and murders.

“Have they drawn on any of the national resources? Have they asked for alternate investigative techniques? Have they conducted a management review or an internal audit of the work on these particular investigations?” he said. “These are tough questions that need to be asked and they can’t just blow them off.”

He said it’s lucky there haven’t been more murders given the number of shootings.

“The potential for all kinds of people to be caught in the cross fire … it is just very, very worrisome and disturbing.”