BY RATTAN MALL
QUITE a few South Asians – especially those involved in the Lower Mainland Gang Conflict – have been shot dead over the past three to four years, but the murders of three of them have apparently proved to be baffling to both the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) and Vancouver Police (which is not a member of IHIT).
The three homicides are:
* Surinderpal Hehar, 45: Longshoreman and field hockey promoter was shot dead in Surrey on November 21, 2015
* Amarjit Singh Sandhu, 56: Developer who was actively involved in Vancouver’s Ross Street Gurdwara (Khalsa Diwan Society) politics was gunned down in Richmond on June 4, 2016
* Kaminder Rai, 32: Surrey realtor was fatally shot in Vancouver West Side just two months ago on February 15, 2018
HERAR, a prominent member of the South Asian community, was shot dead on November 21, 2015, at 152nd Street and 66th Avenue just after midnight as he was headed for work with a colleague, who also sustained gunshot wounds but survived.
Herar was going to work with a colleague when the shooting took place close to his home. Surrey RCMP officers rushed to the area after receiving calls from residents who heard gunshots and located two males in a vehicle suffering from gunshot wounds.
Hehar remained unresponsive and despite the efforts of medical professionals, died as a result of his injuries. The other male was transported to hospital, but his injuries were not considered life-threatening.
Surrey Field Hockey Club announced on its website at the time: We, his friends, family members, his hockey fraternity, are all in a state of shock and disbelief at this… We pledge today, that though we may miss him, but the hockey fraternity and community at large shall not miss the legacy of all the good things that he did for our sport, for we, with his guiding spirit, shall carry on strong!”
The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) have been investigating since then.
Police sources had told The VOICE that they were looking into Hehar’s background and various activities in order to try and figure out what could have led to the murder.
ANOTHER case that also remains unsolved and is still baffling the community is that of Sandhu, who was gunned down in broad daylight in the Tim Horton’s parking lot in the 11300-block of Steveston Highway in Richmond on June 4, 2016.
The killer – a non-white male in his early to mid-20s approximately 6 feet tall, slim / slender build, wearing a grey or light grey coloured hoodie or coat, medium to dark coloured pants and possibly wearing a baseball cap – escaped.
Richmond News reported at the time that a witness told them that Sandhu was killed while standing next to his black pick-up truck by a man with “an average build, light brown skin and some facial hair, wearing a hoodie and sunglasses.” The witness said that the suspect used a gun with a silencer and that he heard “at least six shots that sounded like a paintball gun.”
The witness said Sandhu was with a friend just before the shooting. He added that the friend was spotted talking to police shortly afterwards.
A couple of weeks after the murder, IHIT released photos of what was believed to be the getaway vehicle and asked for the public’s assistance in identifying it. The vehicle was described as gold / silver in colour and appeared to be a Chevrolet Trail Blazer.
Sandhu, a former member of the controversial International Sikh Youth Federation, was a developer (Sandhill Development Ltd) and was very active in Vancouver’s Ross Street Gurdwara (Khalsa Diwan Society) politics. He vehemently opposed the current executive of the gurdwara.
Interestingly, Sandhu was one of several South Asians who were arrested and charged with conspiring to murder visiting minister of state of Punjab, Malkiat Singh Sidhu, on Vancouver Island on May 25, 1986. Sidhu survived the assassination attempt. Sandhu became a Crown witness much to the consternation of the four men who were convicted.
RAI, who was listed as a real estate consultant with Planet Group Realty Inc., used to advertise in South Asian newspapers. Just before 1 p.m. on February 15, Vancouver Police received a report of shots fired in the area of Marguerite Street and West 49th Avenue in the Kerrisdale neighbourhood.
Officers arrived and found a man on the street suffering from an apparent gunshot wound. He was rushed to hospital in critical condition and died hours later. Police later towed away a black Hummer SUV
Based on the initial investigation, police have determined that the shooting was not random. No arrests have been made yet.