BY RATTAN MALL
ONE took place in the dark of the night on a road in Surrey, while the other occurred in broad daylight at a busy parking lot in Richmond.
The South Asian community has been quite used to murders of well-known gang members as well as lesser known figures involved in the drug trade over the years.
But the murders of prominent members, Surinderpal Hehar and Amarjit Singh Sandhu, who were both deeply involved in the community sent shock waves through the South Asian community.
Hehar, 45, a longshoreman who was a well-known field hockey promoter, was shot dead a year and eight months ago on November 21, 2015, at 152nd Street and 66th Avenue in Surrey just after midnight as he was headed for work with a colleague, who also sustained gunshot wounds but survived.
About six months later, on June 4, 2016, developer Amarjit Singh Sandhu was shot in the Tim Horton’s parking lot in the 11300-block of Steveston Highway in Richmond. The killer was a non-white male in his early to mid-20s who escaped.
Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) Cpl. Meghan Foster told The VOICE that the
investigations are ongoing but she had no investigative updates that she could share with the media at this stage.
While there was not much information about the Hehar murder because it took place at night with evidently no one around, there was a raft of details in the Sandhu case.
As IHIT Staff-Sgt. Jennifer Pound put it at the time, the murder took place “in such a bold and brazen manner in a very public setting.”
Sandhu was a former member of the International Sikh Youth Federation and a developer who was very actively involved in Vancouver’s Ross Street Gurdwara (Khalsa Diwan Society) politics.
Richmond News reported that a witness told them that Sandhu was killed while standing next to his black pick-up truck by a man with “an average build, light brown skin and some facial hair, wearing a hoodie and sunglasses.” The witness said that the suspect used a gun with a silencer and that he heard “at least six shots that sounded like a paintball gun.”
The witness told the Richmond News that Sandhu was with a friend just before the shooting. He added that the friend was spotted talking to police shortly afterwards.
IHIT described the killer as a male in his early to mid-20s, approximately 6 feet tall, slim / slender build, wearing a grey or light grey coloured hoodie or coat, medium to dark coloured pants and possibly wearing a baseball cap. He was non-white.
A couple of weeks after the murder, IHIT released photos of what was believed to be the getaway vehicle and asked for the public’s assistance in identifying it. The vehicle was described as gold / silver in colour and appeared to be a Chevrolet Trail Blazer.