SURREY — Police believe the man killed in Saturday night’s shooting in Whalley was an innocent victim.
He wasn’t Surrey’s first, and sadly won’t be its last.
Christopher Mohan, 22, and Abbotsford gasfitter Ed Shellenberg, 55, were two of six men who were shot dead in gang violence in a penthouse suite on the 15th floor of Whalley’s Balmoral Tower on Oct. 19, 2007, in what’s known as the Surrey Six case. Both were killed after accidentally stumbling upon a drug hit in progress.
Madhi Halane, 18, was shot in a drive-by shooting, paralyzed from the neck down and died in hospital six years later, on March 25, 2012. Police say he too was an innocent victim, caught in the aftermath of a fight that started when someone spat at someone else.
In this latest shooting, Jatinder “Michael” Sandhu, 28, was shot in the head and another man identified in news reports as Sean Pasha, 29, was shot in the arm as both sat in a parked car in a driveway in the 14300-block of 90A Avenue,
“There is no evidence that we have so far that would suggest the deceased victim is associated with crime or the Surrey gang conflict,” Staff Sergeant Jennifer Pound, of IHIT (Integrated Homicide Investigation Team), told the Surrey Now.
“We believe he is an innocent victim.”
Sandhu is Surrey’s fifth homicide victim of 2016 and this was the city’s 46th shooting so far this year that has been confirmed by police.
“We continue to look into what, if any, direct involvement the surviving victim has with the Surrey conflict. What we do know is that he has a relative that is involved with the conflict and we are not ruling out anything at this point,” Pound said.
Neither Sandhu, nor the other victim, have a criminal record. Meantime, IHIT is looking for a grey or silver Infiniti SUV that was seen taking off from the crime scene.
Pound said investigators believe that this shooting is linked to the conflict in Surrey but evidence thus far suggests the victims may not have been the intended targets.
“Police would like to remind individuals that just because you’re not directly involved in criminal activity or violence as a result of conflict does not mean that you’re immune to the associated risks,” she said. “If you have friends or family members involved in this lifestyle, you could very well become inadvertent collateral damage to these violent disputes.”
The impact a homicide has extends well beyond the homicide victims themselves, Pound said. “It has a devastating and lasting effect on family members, friends and communities as a whole.
“Telling a family that their loved one has died is one of the most dreaded tasks that a police officer will do in his or her career,” she added. “When you add in the component of homicide, the delivery is that much more difficult as there is no way to rationalize or compartmentalize a murder.
“Whether an individual is an innocent victim or one who was entrenched in a life of crime and violence, they have a family that endures excruciating and debilitating pain from the loss,” Pound said. “On top of the shock and overall grief that a family experiences upon being notified of a death, they must also try and process the anger that comes with homicide.”
Police ask anyone with information on Saturday night’s shooting to call the IHIT tip-line at 1-877-551-4448.