SURREY – Police say two groups – one of Somalian decent, the other, South Asian – are believed to be responsible for 11 of 21 shootings in Surrey and North Delta since the second week of March.
Since March 9, there have been 18 shootings in Surrey and three in Delta.
"We believe these two groups are competing over drug turf," Surrey RCMP Chief Supt. Bill Fordy said, "and have chosen to jeopardize public safety in that process.
"We have reached out to elders in both the Sikh and Somali communities," he said. "In addition, we have spoken to many of the family members of the persons that have participated in this violence."
Fordy and Delta Police’s acting chief, Lyle Beaudoin, briefed reporters Tuesday afternoon on the state of the investigations.
"You’re going to see police cars everywhere," Beaudoin said.
They also displayed photographs of the shooting victims and intended victims to date. None were killed.
Among the people shot are Surrey residents Derrick Bequette, 33, Chadanjot Gill, 18, Tirath Taggar, 25, and Charandeep Tiwana, 23, Pardeep Singh, 20, and Indervir Johal, 21, as well as Delta resident Sukhpreet Pansal, 25.
Police listed Surrey residents Adam Lakatos, 20, and Sukhraj Chahal, 24, as well as Shakiel Basra, 20 of Delta, among the intended victims.
Investigators are also seeking information on Surrey residents Sameh Mohammed, 20, Amrit Kular, 20, and Delta resident Pardip Brar, 20.
"Today, I again appeal to the family, friends and those of you who know any of the people pictured here," Fordy said.
"We need information on their whereabouts, their connections and their activities. Any information could benefit the investigations and help prevent somebody else being shot."
So far there has been only one arrest. Arman Dhatt, 18, who was not among those whose photo was shown at the press
conference, was arrested this past Friday at his Delta home, and has been charged with 12 gun-and drug-related crimes.
He is to appear in Surrey provincial court today (April 16).
Fordy said the victims and intended victims of these shootings have so far been unco-operative with police and have tried to brush off investigators with comments such as "’The bullets fell from the sky…I will take care of myself…Don’t you worry about it… No need for you cops to be here.’" "One of the victims also told investigators that he knew who the shooters were, what the motive was, but he did not wish to tell the police. As you can imagine, this lack of co-operation has significantly impacted our abilities to advance a prosecution at this stage."
The latest shooting happened at 1 a.m. Wednesday in the area of 128th Street and 66th Avenue. Police said a red pickup and grey SUV were involved. There were no reports of injuries and nobody had been arrested by press time. Police said they found multiple bullet casings at the scene.