Surrey’s 10th homicide of the year — a shooting — has become fodder for a civic election campaign that’s getting hotter in the home stretch.
Sumeet Randhawa, 30, of Surrey was shot in the 6700-block of 130th Street in Newton on Thursday afternoon and police are looking for a suspect. Of Surrey’s 10 homicides, seven of the victims died by gunfire.
There have been 33 shootings in Surrey in 2018. There were 59 shootings in Surrey during 2017, in 2016 there were 61 and in 2015 there were 88.
Detective Lara Jansen, of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team said the shooting is believed to be connected to the “ongoing Lower Mainland gang conflict.”
Mere hours after Randhawa died, the Surrey First campaign sent out a press release, “Shooting reinforces the need for full-on anti-gang campaign: Tom Gill.”
In the release, Gill says Thursday’s shooting reinforces the need for a “full-on anti-gang campaign” tackling gang recruitment.
“Surrey is a safe city, but targeted shootings like this shatter that sense of public safety,” the mayoral candidate said. “I’ve been clear in my campaign that I want to join other cities to ban hand guns, add more police officers and keep out kids out of the hands of gang recruiters.
“There’s no simple solution here, which means we have to take a full-on approach that includes prevention, enforcement and intervention. Like everyone in our city I’ve had it with these shootings and the people who think they own our streets.”
Later, the Safe Surrey Coalition campaign weighed in with a press release of its own, taking Gill to task for “passing” on a public safety and crime question posed to all mayoral candidates on stage Wednesday night at a mayoral event at the Sheraton Hotel. Gill later told reporters he didn’t take the question because his blood sugar level was out of control.
Safe Surrey’s mayoral candidate Doug McCallum said in the release that the city should start the “full-on approach” Gill referred to by cancelling Surrey First’s “proposed quarter-billion dollar arts and cultural centre” and instead invest that money into creating a Surrey police force to replace the RCMP, “with the goal of making it much tougher for gangs to do business in Surrey.”
Voters go to the polls next Saturday, Oct. 20.
Doug Elford, a Safe Surrey Coalition candidate, stated in his slate’s release Thursday night that he’s running for council because he’s tired of the street violence.
“I will keep public safety top of mind for the whole term. This is not the first gang shooting close to my home. Everyone in my neighbourhood has had enough of this senseless violence. It has to be stopped.”