FRANCOIS Joseph Gauthier, 53, who was initially charged with first-degree murder in the April 17, 2021 shooting death of Harpreet Singh Dhaliwal, 31, outside Cardero’s restaurant near Coal Harbour Quay and Cardero Street in Vancouver, pleaded guilty to the lesser offence of second-degree murder in B.C. Supreme Court on Tuesday. Gauthier was sentenced to life in prison with no parole eligibility for 20 years.
Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes said that this offence as an execution-style killing was a particularly serious one with many aggravating features.
According to court documents, Gauthier shot Dhaliwal 10 times with a semi-automatic handgun with a silencer. The motive for the murder has not been revealed.
After shooting Dhaliwal, Gauthier dropped the handgun and fled. But Dhaliwal’s brother and another man chased him and stabbed him multiple times before returning to the victim’s body. First responders were unable to revive Dhaliwal.
Dhaliwal, who did not have a criminal record, was believed to have ties to the Brothers Keepers gang.
Quebec-born Gauthier, who had a serious criminal record, had come to Vancouver in January 2021 from South America. Police found firearms as well as GPS tracking devices, four B.C. licence plates, four cellphones and a silicone-style face mask in his Airbnb apartment.
ACCORDING to The Abbotsford News’ Vikki Hopes, Harpreet (Harb) Dhaliwal’s brother, Barinder (Brian) “Shrek” Dhaliwal, was the suspected target of a drive-by shooting in 2011 at a home on Bradner Road and was an associate of the Bacon brothers. In 2011, Jarrod Bacon alleged in wiretap evidence presented at his drug-conspiracy trial that Brian could front the $3 million in cash for cocaine.
In September 2012, there was another drive-by shooting in which a man got shot in the arm. Following that incident, police installed video surveillance cameras on Bradner Road near the home.
Brian was shot in July 2013 on Downes Road and went to a hospital with a gunshot wound.
In 2016, he was charged with four weapons offences and pleaded guilty to one in 2018. He was sentenced to a one-year prison term.
Harpreet was the victim of shootings in 2017 in Abbotsford and in December 2018 at Lansdowne Mall in Richmond.
Another brother, Meninder, survived a shooting in March 2019 in Richmond.