By Kim Bolan,
A former Vancouver gangster was shot to death in Toronto Tuesday afternoon in a brazen attack that surprised even local police.
Sukh Deo, 34, was inside a white Range Rover when two men started firing at him just before 3 p.m. in an alley near the busy intersection of Yonge Street and Eglinton Avenue.
Toronto police Supt. Reuben Stroble told reporters at the scene that the fatal shooting “is a big surprise for this area, especially at this time of day.”
The luxury vehicle had at least 14 bullet holes visible on the driver’s side window.
Sukh’s uncle, Sohan Deo, confirmed it was his nephew who was killed.
The dead man’s father Parminder got a call from someone in Ontario, Sohan Deo said, and headed to Vancouver airport to get a flight to Toronto. Parminder called his brother before he left.
“The family is very upset,” SohanDeo said. “It is terrible.”
He said his nephew, who was married with young children, had moved to Toronto a few years ago and was running a trucking company with a friend.
“I went there in May and I stayed with him a few days. He took me to where those trucking businesses are,” Deo said, adding that he has no idea why his nephew would have been targeted.
“I really can’t say anything. It’s hard for me to say anything because he was over there.”
Sukh Deo was well-known to police in the Lower Mainland, where he was a suspect in at least one continuing investigation at the time of his murder. He had convictions in B.C. for resisting a police officer, driving while suspended and assault.
His brother Harjit was convicted in a 2005 gangland kidnapping along with others in the Independent Soldiers gang. The kidnap victim had been held in the garage of the Deo family home in New Westminster, B.C., where police later arrested several suspects.
Sukh’s father Parminder is wanted on an Interpol warrant on drug smuggling charges laid in India. He earlier told the Vancouver Sun he was innocent and had hired a lawyer in the Punjab to fight the case.
SukhDeo was an avid fan of the Toronto Raptors, his uncle said. Just last month, he was ejected from his courtside seat at Game 4 of the Raptors’ playoff series against the Cleveland Cavaliers after heckling the referees.
YouTube Sukh Deo ejected from a Toronto Raptors game last month.
“All our kids, they watched him on that day,” Deo said. “He was a really big fan of that team. He always goes to watch the games.”
Toronto police said on Twitter that they’re looking for two men in Deo’s murder. They were seen fleeing the area in a black car. Both were wearing construction vests — one green and one orange.
Anyone with information about his murder is asked to call the Toronto Police Service homicide squad at 1-416-808-2222 or Crime Stoppers 1-800-222-8477.