Sidhu did not have a criminal record, but was known to police
BY RATTAN MALL
ABBOTSFORD’S Townline Hill conflict claimed yet another life on Monday (February 20) – the sixth in the conflict since 2014.
On Tuesday, the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team identified the victim as 23-year-old Satkar Singh Sidhu.
“Mr. Sidhu did not have a criminal record, but was known to police. From the evidence gathered so far, police believe that Mr. Sidhu’s murder was targeted, and is linked to other gang violence that has occurred in the Lower Mainland,” said Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) Cpl. Meghan Foster.
Sources told The VOICE that the three suspects that were arrested in connection with the fatal shooting are also South Asians.
Foster said: “It is still early in the investigation, and investigators are trying to determine what involvement, if any, the three males had in the homicide. They have since been released from custody, and are not facing any criminal charges. IHIT’s focus is on the homicide investigation, and any questions regarding public safety can be forwarded to the respective community.”
Crown felt they didn’t have enough evidence to meet the threshold of a substantial likelihood of conviction of the three suspects.
This is reportedly linked to the ongoing Townline Hill conflict between two groups of young South Asians.
On February 20, just after 9:30 a.m., the Abbotsford Police Department responded to a report of shots fired in the 30500-block of Steelhead Court. When police arrived, a male victim was located suffering from gunshot wounds. BCAS provided treatment to the male victim, but despite lifesaving measures, the male victim succumbed to his injuries at the scene.
Simultaneously, members of the Integrated Road Safety Unit (IRSU), observed a suspect vehicle fleeing the area at a high rate of speed. When police attempted to stop the vehicle, the driver failed to pull the vehicle over. In a coordinated effort with the Mission RCMP, the vehicle was disabled with the use of a spike belt, and three male suspects were taken into custody and transported to the Abbotsford Police Department.
As the death of the male victim was a homicide, the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) assumed conduct of the case. IHIT is working closely with the APD, Integrated Forensic Identification Services, and the BC Coroner’s service to process and gather evidence.
Foster said: “This homicide was a brazen shooting that occurred in a quiet residential neighbourhood, and fortunately no one else was hurt. Having association to or involvement with the gang life comes with many risks. There are people who have information about what happened, and they need to step forward.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact the IHIT Information Line at 1-877-551-IHIT (4448), or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Should you wish to remain anonymous, contact CrimeStoppers by phone at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
THE last shooting that occurred in connection with the Townline Hill conflict in Abbotsford was on December 16 when two men sustained gunshot wounds in what police said was a targeted shooting.
(The January 9 shooting in which a South Asian man was shot at in Abbotsford’s Flagman Place was not connected to the Townline Hill conflict.)
The December shooting took place just a few days after Abbotsford Police Chief Bob Rich had sent letters to parents of all those involved in this deadly conflict, warning: “If he stays involved in gangs, he is at serious risk of being killed. As a member of one of these gangs, your son’s actions are causing other people to die. In addition, if you have other younger sons in your house, experience has shown us that they are at risk of being pulled into gangs by their older brother.”
At 7:45 p.m. on December 16, Abbotsford Police received a call alerting them to possible shots fired in the 33200-block of Walsh Avenue. Patrol officers were unable to locate a victim. However, an area search was conducted and evidence located to confirm a shooting had occurred.
Police said that evidence gathered indicated that a vehicle and its occupants were targeted in the shooting incident. The same vehicle arrived at the hospital and two of the occupants had gunshot wounds. One of the males was treated for his injuries and released from the hospital last night, the second male remained in hospital in stable condition with serious injuries.
Rich in his letter to parents pointed out: “Since 2014, there have been a large number of shootings and violence between two rival gangs. Most of the violence has been in the Townline Hill area of our City. Members of these gangs are trying to kill each other. As of today, five people have been murdered. One of those people was an innocent bystander. Another of the five was an 18 year old boy. A leader of one of the gangs was recently arrested for murder and may spend the next 25 years in jail. These two gangs are fighting over who gets to sell illegal drugs in Abbotsford. The drugs they are selling are killing many other people in Abbotsford because the people that use these drugs are dying from overdoses.”
ON January 11, Navdeep Sidhu, 24 and Harman Mangat, 22, both B.C. residents, were found shot to death in Southeast Edmonton and spokespersons for both Abbotsford Police and CFSEU-BC confirmed to the media at the time that they were connected to the Townline Hill conflict.
Detectives believed that these drug-related murders were connected with drug activity in B.C.’s Lower Mainland.
The two men were found dead in a running, white Dodge Ram truck with B.C. plates on 39 Street, near Charlesworth Drive, by a member of the public.