Police investigate at the scene of a recent drive-by shooting 
in Surrey.                                 Photo: Now-Leader file

Police investigate at the scene of a recent drive-by shooting in Surrey. Photo: Now-Leader file

ZYTARUK: Well, it happened. Again.

Drive-by shootings have become a part of our social fabric here in the Lower Mainland

So let it be written…

So this is what it takes.

Vancouver Police will apparently spare no expense, turn over all stones and throw the proverbial kitchen sink into it as they investigate what almost everybody in the Lower Mainland knew beforehand would happen probably some day sooner rather than later.

They have to be building a special condominium in hell for the monster/s whose reckless gunplay – geez, what a witless term – on Vancouver’s streets sent an innocent 15-year-old boy to his tragically premature death.

Alfred Wong was hit by a stray bullet while sitting in the back seat of his parents’ car last Saturday evening, at busy Broadway and Ontario Street. He died Monday. Could have been any one of us. Or our kids. Might well be one day, if things keep going the way they are.

Murder is of course no new thing, harkening back to the days of Cain and Abel. When I started reporting on crime here in Surrey a silver anniversary ago, sure, there were murders. But drive-by shootings were rare.

Really rare.

That sort of thing happened in Inglewood and South Side Chicago. Bloods, Crips, gangsters over there, far away, not here, not in our neighbourhoods and not done by our neighbours.

Not so any more.

Drive-by shootings have become a part of our social fabric here in the Lower Mainland. In Surrey, we keep a tally of what police call “shots fired incidents.” So far there has been two shootings in Surrey in 2018. There were 59 shootings in Surrey during 2017, and in 2016 there were 61. In 2015 there were 88.

In the steady diet of news stories, street shootings have become a staple.

READ ALSO: Friends mourn boy, 15, killed in Vancouver shooting

READ ALSO: Four years for manslaughter in Surrey drive-by shooting

READ ALSO: Boy, 15, one of three hit in Vancouver shooting

READ ALSO: Man hurt in Surrey’s first shooting of 2018 in Cloverdale

In the wake of young Wong’s death, Vancouver’s Chief Constable Adam Palmer noted it was the first bystander killing in Vancouver since 2004. He said the murder was an “anomaly” and his is a “safe city.”

Try telling that to this dead boy’s parents. Clearly not safe for him. Not safe for us, as long as criminals continue to shoot at each other from cars, on busy streets.

That goes for Surrey, too.

While this reckless killing of an innocent bystander happened in Vancouver, it could have just as easily happened here. Surrey is not without its premature graves and innocent victims; its Ed Schellenbergs, its Chris Mohans.

Why, just this past July a woman visiting Surrey from Ontario was grazed by a bullet, in her shoulder, as criminals shot at each other from separate vehicles in Newton. This innocent bystander had been sitting in the passenger seat of a parked van. It’s counterintuitive to call her lucky, but lucky she was. To be alive, that is.

Alfred Wong’s homicide is sickening. So was Mahdi Halane’s, in Surrey. Another innocent destroyed in a drive-by shooting. Over what? Somebody spat on someone else, tempers flared and bullets flew. Halane had nothing to do with that costly spitting. The 18-year-old was hit in the neck, rendering him a quadriplegic. Recently a man was sentenced to four years in prison for his role in the crime. Halane, I note, suffered for six years before dying in hospital. His family is suffering still.

The authorities really need to get medieval on these gangsters who put decent folks’ lives – and those of innocent children – in random danger.

The rub is, they need to find a way to do it that won’t have the rest of us living under martial law.

A good place to start is for certain people – mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, lovers and friends – to grow a conscience and turn these shooters over to police.

So let it be done.

Tom Zytaruk is a staff writer with the Now-Leader. He can be reached at tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey Fire Service at a garage fire in the 14400-block of 82A Ave on March 22, 2021. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
‘Perfect storm’ of variants, increasing COVID cases are concerning for Surrey fire chief

Between police and fire, Larry Thomas said there are 8 confirmed cases, 18 others isolating

Surrey Fire Service is on scene of a fire in the 12300-block of 72A Avenue Saturday morning (April 10). (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Surrey crews on scene of house fire

It happened in the 12300-block of 72A Avenue

Emergency crews on scene after a small plane crashed in a grassy area on the northeast side of Boundary Bay Airport Saturday morning (April 10). A freelancer said the plane caught fire and one person was transported to hospital by BC Emergency Health Services. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Small plane crashes at Delta’s Boundary Bay Airport

Plane appears to have suffered ‘significant’ damage, says freelancer

Signage on a South Surrey sidewalk reminds pedestrians to respect social-distancing guidelines. (Photo: Tracy Holmes)
Surrey records 4,400 COVID-19 cases in March

New cases almost doubled between February, March

Surrey RCMP are looking for these two men after a bank in the 12800-block of 96th Avenue was robbed on March 12. (Images: Surrey RCMP)
Police release images of two men suspected of robbing Surrey bank

Robbery happened on March 12 at bank in 12800-block of 96th Avenue

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
Vehicle ‘launched 100%’ into B.C. Walmart removed after trapped workers rescued

Crews cut new hole in parkade wall to remove vehicle safely

Four members with Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans were out at Cultus Lake on March 28 and 29 hauling trash out of the waters. (Henry Wang)
PHOTOS: Out-of-town divers remove 100s of pounds of trash from Cultus Lake

Members of Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans hauled out 470 pounds of trash over two days

As of Saturday, April 10, people born in 1961 are the latest to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Black Press files)
B.C. residents age 60+ can now register to get their COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine registration is now open to people born in 1961 or earlier

A new saline gargle test, made in B.C., will soon be replacing COVID-19 nasal swab tests for kids. (PHSA screenshot)
Take-home COVID-19 tests available for some B.C. students who fall ill at school

BC Children’s Hospital plans to provide 1,200 kits to Vancouver district schools this April

Ruming Jiang and his dog Chiu Chiu are doing fine following a brush with hypothermia that saw several people work together to get them out of the Fraser River near Langley’s Derby Reach Park on March 25, 2021 (Special to the Advance Times)
Man finds men who rescued him from drowning in B.C.’s Fraser River

A grateful Ruming Jiang says he will thank them again, this time in person when the pandemic ends

The 10-part Netflix series Maid, which is being exclusively shot in Greater Victoria, was filming near Prospect Lake in Saanich last month. (Photo courtesy Fred Haynes)
Province announces $150,000 towards film studio, fulfilling B.C. NDP promise

Investment to fund movie studio feasibility study at Camosun College

Tyson Ginter, 7, is proud of his latest Hot Wheels he recently received by Quesnel RCMP Const. Matt Joyce. (Photo submitted)
B.C. Mountie handing out toy cars to light up children’s faces

‘A lot of times it will be the only interaction they have with the police,’ says Const. Matt Joyce

People stroll through rows of tulips in bloom during the Tulips of the Valley Festival on May 2, 2017. The colourful spring event, now called Chilliwack Tulips, opens on Sunday, April 11, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Fraser Valley tulip attraction returns this weekend for 1 month

More than 6.5 million bulbs in all at this year’s colourful Chilliwack Tulips event

Most Read