Ripudaman Singh Malik, acquitted of murder in the 1985 Air India bombing, was killed in a shooting at 8236 128 Street in Newton on Thursday morning.
The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team confirmed the person killed was Malik, 75, who was acquitted in 2005 of the 1985 Air India Bombing following a lengthy trial in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver. He died at the scene.
“We are aware of Mr. Malik’s background, though at this time we are still working to determine the motive. We can confirm that the shooting appears to be targeted and there is not believed to be any further risk to the public,” said Sgt. Timothy Pierotti of IHIT.
“Having occurred in a residential area, we are confident that witnesses exist that could help us further this investigation. We urge them to come forward immediately and without delay.”
Rashpal Singh, a realtor who works out of the business complex police had taped off, told the Now-Leader that he’d spoken with Malik on occasion.
“He’s a very nice guy to talk to,” he told the Now-Leader. “I wouldn’t have expected this.”
Singh, who said he wasn’t at his office when the shooting happened, said Malik “manages several offices upstairs, one of which we rent.”
Surrey RCMP Const. Sarbjit Sangha said Thursday a suspect vehicle located in the 12200 block of 82 Avenue was “fully engulfed in fire” and police are still looking for the shooter and a second vehicle “that may have been used as getaway vehicle.”
Police ask anyone with information, dash camera footage or video surveillance from the area to contact the Surrey RCMP at 604-599-0502, or Crime Stoppers, if they wish to remain anonymous, at 1-800-222-8477 or www.solvecrime.ca.
Malik was found not guilty of eight criminal counts, including bomb-related and first-degree murder charges.
Malik’s family and supporters declined to comment at the courthouse after the trial but posted a statement at NotGuilty.org saying that “with the grace of God” justice had prevailed.
“Our family deeply sympathizes with the families of those that died in this horrific tragedy,” it stated. “The anger and sadness that the families are going through because of today’s decision should be directed towards the RCMP and Crown. They had given these families a false hope of justice by proceeding with a case without merit.”
Surrey-based Khalsa Credit Union, of which Malik is a founder, issued a press statement at the time on behalf of its directors saying they were “very pleased” with the verdict.
“I believed Mr. Malik was innocent and the decision bears out my faith in the justice system,” Karnail Singh Manhas, the credit union’s corporate secretary stated in 2005. “It will be very good to see Mr. Malik working in the community again.”
The only man held accountable for the Air India bombing was Inderjit Singh Reyat, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in February 2003 and was sentenced to five years in prison.
The bombing killed 329 people. Seven Surrey families lost loved ones in the Air India explosion off the coast of Ireland.
– With files from Lauren Collins