JOHNNY Steven Drynock, now 24, was charged in May 2017 with the first-degree murder of 29-year-old Birinderjeet Justin Bhangu who was shot and killed on March 13, 2017, while seated in his vehicle in the parking lot of Comfort Inn Hotel in the 8200-block of 166th Street in Fleetwood, Surrey.
But last week he pleaded guilty to manslaughter using a firearm, the Vancouver Sun revealed this week, quoting court records.
A conviction on a first-degree murder charge would have meant a mandatory life sentence with no possibility of parole for 25 years, but now Drynock will be able to apply for full parole after serving a third of his term of an additional 10 years and nine months, after receiving credit for pre-sentence custody.
Back in 2017, IHIT Staff-Sgt. Jennifer Pound had said: “Mr. Bhangu is known to police and, while a motive hasn’t been confirmed, it is believed that this shooting was as a result of his criminal lifestyle.”
Pound revealed the following timeline:
*Bhangu was driving an Acura MDX and pulled into a parking spot in front of the hotel at 2:22 p.m.
* The suspect was driving a Nissan Pathfinder and was backed into a parking spot close by.
* At 2:23 p.m. the suspect exited his vehicle and approached Bhangu from the driver’s side of the vehicle.
* While approaching the vehicle, the suspect began shooting at 2:24 p.m.
* The suspect ran back to his vehicle and fled the parking lot westbound, making a right-hand turn onto Fraser Highway.
*The Nissan Pathfinder, driven by the suspect, was recovered in Kelowna the next day (March 14, 2017).
Pound said that on March 17, 2017, exactly two months earlier, IHIT released a surveillance photo of a male suspect believed to be the shooter. As a result of this, information was received that identified the suspect to be Drynock.
“Following two months of exhaustive work and intensive evidence gathering, the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team has received charge approval for first-degree murder against Mr. Drynock,” said Pound. “The media and the public played an integral role in assisting IHIT identify the suspect and ensuring any issues surrounding public safety were not overlooked.”
Drynock had been in custody since April 8 on an unrelated matter in Merritt, B.C.