TWO men, Colin Victor Stewart,32, of Surrey and James Jones, 35, of Vancouver have been arrested and charged in connection to the 2009 murder of Rajinder (Raj) Singh Soomel.
The two accused were arrested on Friday, June 20. Both are known to police and remain in custody.
Vancouver Police said that on September 29, 2009, police were called to the area of Cambie Street near West 19th Avenue after residents called 9-1-1 and reported hearing what they believed to be gunshots.
Officers arrived and found a man, later identified as Soomel, lying dead in the middle of Cambie Street.
Investigators with the Vancouver Police’s Homicide Unit determined that Raj Soomel fell victim to a gang-related shooting that had gone wrong. Soomel was not the intended victim and was in the wrong place at the wrong time when gunmen came looking for another target.
The person believed to be the intended target that day was Randy Naicker. VPD investigators did speak with and inform Naiker that his life could still be in danger. He was later be murdered on June 25, 2012, in Port Moody. That homicide remains under investigation.
Vancouver police were assisted by the RCMP, CFSEU and Correctional Services Canada to help identify and gather evidence against potential suspects in Soomel’s murder.
“Homicide investigations are often lengthy and pose unique challenges for police,” said Insp. Laurence Rankin in charge of the VPD Homicide Unit. “We never forget, and remain committed and determined to solving these crimes.”
RAJINDER Soomel was the older brother of Ravinder (Robbie) Soomel, who Hardip Uppal claimed had confessed to him that Hayer’s murder was carried out by him and Basran on the orders of a Kamloops contact with Babbar Khalsa, now labeled a terrorist group. Soomel allegedly told Uppal that he drove the getaway car while Basran carried out the hit, according to what police said in court.
Back in February 2006, the family of Daljit Singh (Umboo) Basran – the man who was identified in court as the alleged killer of Punjabi publisher Tara Singh Hayer – reported him missing to Vancouver Police and police said that there was a strong possibility that he’d met with foul play.
Ravinder Soomel was found guilty in May 2003 of the first-degree September 2000 murder of Gurpreet Singh Sohi in Delta and has been serving a life sentence, while Uppal was found guilty of manslaughter in February 2004 in the same case.
In October, 2007, RCMP’s Project Expedio Task Force arrested Rajinder Soomel, and an RCMP spokesperson said that the Crown counsel office had approved a charge of attempted murder against him. In March 2008, a local newspaper broke the story that Rajinder had pleaded guilty during a court appearance to attempted murder for plotting to kill Uppal, who’d been ratting out South Asian gangsters regarding a series of unsolved murders.
In September 2009, Rajinder Soomel was killed on Cambie Street in Vancouver.
In December 2010, Ravinder Soomel was sentenced to five years in prison in the November 1997 killing of Jason Herle of Abbotsford after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit murder.
RANDYNESH Raman Naicker (aka Randy Naicker) was gunned down on June 25, 2012, just before 4:45 p.m. in a parking lot on Queens Street at the intersection with St. John’s Street in Port Moody. That parking lot is just next to a busy Starbucks, an Indian restaurant and other businesses.
According to some witnesses, a gunman in a black mask pumped bullets into Naicker in front of a raft of onlookers. Between eight and 10 shots were heard. Naicker fell on the ground next to a grey Infiniti SUV whose driver’s side window was shattered. The killer jumped into a vehicle driven by another man and sped away. Police recovered a gun.
Naicker admitted to the National Parole Board that he founded the Independent Soldiers, but claimed that it was actually a clothing company that he started in 2004 and that some goons took over his trade-marked logo.
He was convicted in the 2005 kidnapping and unlawful confinement of Harpreet “Happy” Singh after 136 kg of marijuana went missing. He was arrested along with Jamie Bacon and Dennis Karbovanec and other members of the Red Scorpions and Independent Soldiers in Abbotsford at Castle Fun Park in December 2006 for breaching his bail conditions. He was facing kidnapping charges at the time.
Bacon and Karbovanec were among those who were charged with murder in the October 19, 2007 gangland execution-style killings of six people that included innocent victims Chris Mohan, 22, of Surrey and Edward J. Schellenberg, 55, of Abbotsford.