Bullets fly at restaurant patio as arrests pile up

SURREY – Police are making some headway into their shootings investigations in Surrey and North Delta, but still more keep happening.

 

There has been more than 30 shootings in Surrey and North Delta since the beginning of March, and police believe at least 16 of them are linked to a drug turf war.

 

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The latest shooting happened Monday night outside Earls Restaurant, near the northeast corner of 72nd Avenue and Scott Road.

 

Police are looking for a silver SUV that took off after the shooting. Diners were still on the restaurant patio when the shooting

 

happened, shortly after 9 p.m., but nobody was hit.

 

Surrey RCMP Sgt. Dale Carr said witnesses saw two men, who are thought to have been the intended targets, escape in a blue vehicle.

 

Police believe this shooting is linked to the drug war. Carr said it’s not known if the two men were hit.

 

If they were, but haven’t been to hospital, Carr said, "That’s displaying a great deal of stupidity and high risk to themselves."

 

Meantime, Surrey New Democrat MPs Jinny Sims and Jasbir Sandhu continue to pressure

 

the federal government for help.

 

In Ottawa, Surrey North New Democrat MP Jasbir Sandhu accused the Tory government of "stalling" in its recent promise to send 100 more Mounties to Surrey to fight gang violence here.

 

"Every week brings more shootings and more fear in our community," Sandhu said.

 

"People should not have to live in fear. With no description of where the money will come from, no timeline and no tangible steps for implementation, this seems like another empty campaign promise."

 

WHERE’S WATTS?

 

Pixie Hobby, the NDP candidate for South Surrey-White Rock-Cloverdale, charged her Conservative rival, former Surrey mayor Dianne Watts, with being deafeningly silent on the shootings.

 

"It’s surprising Dianne Watts has been silent on this," Hobby said.

 

"She was always really engaged."

 

That’s why people "looked up to" the former mayor, Hobby said.

 

"She was stalwart. Now, she’s gone. Suddenly she’s just gone. You don’t hear anything," she added. "She was wonderful here. The only thing I have to ask is, ‘What’s she doing with that crowd?’" Watts replied that as a Conservative candidate "it’s our role to ensure the RCMP that were requested is fulfilled.

 

"I’m not going to respond to another candidate’s personal digs at me," she added.

 

FOUR HOMES RAIDED More than 50 police officers armed with search warrants raided four homes in Surrey and Langley

 

last Thursday, resulting in the arrests of two men and the seizure of illegal drugs and a large amount of cash.

 

The raids were in response to recent gang-related violence in Surrey and North Delta, Delta Police Sgt. Sarah Swallow said.

 

Police believe many of the shooting since the beginning of March are linked to a drug turf war between South Asian and Somali gangs.

 

The two men who were arrested were expected to appear in Surrey provincial court last Friday.

 

The arrests resulted from a Delta Police investigation, Swallow said. She wouldn’t reveal in which communities the arrests were made, but one was in Guildford.

 

Delta Police, Surrey RCMP and the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit participated in the raids.

 

Meanwhile, on May 27 the Surrey RCMP’s drug section – with the help of Surrey’s Gang Enforcement Team and other police agencies – executed three search warrants at multiple homes in the 107700-block of University Drive and seized bulk marijuana, cocaine, two prohibited firearms, ammo, and several thousand dollars in cash.

 

"The residences are believed

 

to be associated to one of the two rival groups involved in the series of shootings," Carr said.

 

"The firearms and ammunition are being forensically examined to determine if there are any links to the shooting incidents."

 

Two vehicles were also seized.

 

Carr said since April 1, police have seized more than 40 weapons – guns, knives, pepperspray and other prohibited weapons, 34 vehicles

 

and more than $25,000 in cash.

 

"There have been a significant number of arrests with over 73 charges recommended," Carr said. "The sustained pressure by our enforcement teams is having a direct impact on the illegal activities of the groups involved in this ongoing conflict."

 

Carr said there have been 169 calls to the tip line the police set up. It is 604-915-6566.

 

tom.zytaruk@thenow newspaper.com

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