Recent violence not unique to Surrey, mayor says

SURREY — Let’s hope this week is better.

Last week, Surrey experienced a terrible week of violent death, with three homicides in five days.

While "very tragic for sure," Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts said, hers is not the only city seeing recent violence. Vancouver, like Surrey, has also had seven homicides so far this year, and a man was injured in gunfire at Brentwood mall in Burnaby on Saturday. Violence, she noted, is happening "throughout the Lower Mainland" and she says authorities need to coordinate their efforts to tackle it on a regional scale.

Last November, Watts launched a task force aimed at curbing violent crime in Surrey after the city hit a record high 25 homicides in 2013 – almost half of all cases in the Lower Mainland. She noted that so far this year, Surrey’s homicide rate is significantly lower than during the same period last year, which saw 13 homicides.

Surrey RCMP Sgt. Dale Carr echoed that. Last year’s number of homicides to date was "more than double" this year’s, he noted.

Police are doing what they can to fight crime, he said, but if someone is absolutely determined to kill someone, he said, it will happen.

"Sometimes it happens in Surrey."

Of the three killings in Surrey last week, investigators have made an arrest in one of them.

Dustin Barry Anderson, 42, was arrested in Nanaimo on Saturday for the June 16 murder of Shaunce Poirier, 33, who was killed in the 13200-block of 108th Avenue in Whalley. Poirier is Surrey’s fifth homicide victim of the year. He was found in front of an apartment building.

"We are continuing our investigation into this murder and at this point our investigators have determined that this was not a random act," said Sgt. Bari Emam, of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team.

Anderson is expected to appear in Surrey provincial court today (Tuesday), charged with second-degree murder.

Meantime, Surrey’s seventh homicide of 2014, and the third last week alone, was in the 2400-block of 156th Street in South Surrey, where the body of Timothy Szabolcsi, 52, was found inside a rancher on Friday morning. Police haven’t yet revealed how he died.

"We have no indication that this was anything random or there is a risk to the public," Emam said at the scene.

"In terms of the motive, we don’t know that."

While Emam was being scrummed by reporters on the street Friday, his fellow police officers told reporters and onlookers to get back, for their own "safety," and proceeded to move their yellow tape barrier further away from the crime scene.

People gathered on the sidewalk, for a look.

"You turn the TV on in the morning and there’s something going on all the time," one bystander remarked.

Clay Russell, out from Edmonton to visit his mom, said police had been checking the area with dogs.

"They’re worried about us getting shot by bullets so we’re sort of away," Russell said. He noted that a string of old houses along the street had been bought about two years ago but haven’t been taken down. "The land’s been bought. Usually when this happens you should destroy things," he said, noting people have been wandering into the abandoned houses.

It was the latest case in a week of Surrey mayhem. Surrey’s sixth homicide was early Thursday morning. Mandeepak "Deepak" Chahal’s body was found lying on the road at 65B Ave and 131st Street, a short stroll from St. Bernadette elementary school.

Police responding to a call about a brawl, at about 2 a.m., found the 22-year-old victim, who later died in hospital.

"Our investigators can confirm that this was not a gang or drug-related incident," Emam said. "We are still in the process of confirming a motive for this incident and the investigation continues."

Shortly after this fight, in an unrelated case, a heavily armed Emergency Response Team surrounded a house in Clayton Heights after a man who allegedly threatened his girlfriend barricaded himself inside a basement suite, near 66th Avenue and 192nd Street.

It started in Langley, at about 3 a.m., with a call to the police that the 25-year-old Surrey man had sent a threatening text message to his ex. A police negotiator talked the man out at about 8 a.m., and he surrendered without incident. He’s in custody but charges have not yet been laid.

Also, police are looking for suspects after a man was shot in the hand near 192A Street and 72A Avenue, again in Clayton, late Wednesday afternoon. The 34-year-old victim reportedly sought help at a pizza restaurant, leaving a considerable trail of blood behind him. He was bandaged up to keep him from bleeding out.

Paquet said two other cars had chased the victim’s vehicle. "The victim was stopped in traffic when he fled from his vehicle and was shot at by suspects travelling in another vehicle," he said.

"We believe this to be a targeted incident," Paquet said. "It relates to criminal activity, for sure."

Meantime, police are still searching for Barry McQuarrie in connection with Surrey’s third homicide of this year.

Quesnelle, 32, was shot dead inside a townhouse at Rodeo Park Place in Cloverdale on May 12.

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