BY RATTAN MALL
ABBOTSFORD’S ongoing fight between two groups of young South Asian males brought shame to the community as a video surfaced of a fight between youths in the parking lot of a gurdwara in the Blueridge area perhaps some weeks ago.
The video was sent to OMNI TV and Global BC TV on Thursday by a person who found it disgusting that no one from the gurdwara or the neighbourhood bothered to call the police although the fight happened in broad daylight. The sender remains anonymous for obvious reasons.
OMNI ran the story last week on Friday (November 28) while Global BC finally ran it on Tuesday. Police also recovered a gun seen in the video on Sunday (November 30), but say that it is a very realistic replica.
CONSTABLE Ian MacDonald told The VOICE on Wednesday that the fight likely took place three to six weeks ago. He noted that some were saying that it occurred on the weekend of November 22 which makes sense based on the weather and the clothing the people in the video had on. He added: “The video is not time-stamped or date-stamped, so unless we have an interview with that anonymous guy we can only speculate.”
Asked if police have appealed for the anonymous guy to contact them, MacDonald said: “We are working towards that right now.” Police have some leads on ways they could potentially contact him and hope they can meet him sooner rather than later.
MacDonald said: “Our forensics folks and our crime analysts are going through that video frame by frame with that specific objective and of course we’ve made a public appeal for anyone who recognizes the folks to come forward and help us sort this out.”
WHEN I asked MacDonald if the ongoing conflict was getting worse, he replied: “When I had one of our crime analysts go through it, we actually have fewer incidents after July than we did before July – but I would suggest the severity of those incidents has increased.”
He pointed out that people had gone from doing burnouts on people’s lawns and doing damage to a vehicle with a bat or smashing a window to setting two vehicles on fire last October. He added: “Someone tried to light a Hummer on fire and someone tried to light a Lincoln on fire in a driveway.”
Fortunately, the houses didn’t catch fire. Police believe the two cases of arson were connected to the ongoing conflict. The VOICE has been reporting on the feud since last July and police say that it is not gang-related and involves some 20 youths on either side.
MacDonald noted: “When you have this video and there’s say 25-30 youths there, it’s impossible to say that everybody there is involved in the conflict, but I guarantee that some of them are.”
He added: “So we see it as in some ways an extension of that conflict and it is an example of young men making bad decisions and we need to steer them in the right direction.”
I asked him if he found it disappointing that no one reported the incident to police, MacDonald said: “I am disappointed we never got a call because it would have pre-empted that fight and our officers have done such a great job of interdicting and stopping things before they happen and we could have done it again there. So it’s frustrating that here’s a broad daylight fight where you’ve got at least 25 onlookers and two combatants and weapons and nobody phones us from the neighbourhood and nobody phones us from the temple. It’s disappointing.
“But we can’t go back in time, so all we can do is look forward which is to say ‘you know what … we need to do more’ – so that’s everybody. I have mentioned parents before, I’ll mention them again, but the community needs to step up and community leaders need to step up. We have to do more and we have to remind citizens to phone in this kind of stuff, because if that gun turns out to be real, [and] you are in a crowd of 30 people who are all angry, [and] you pull out a gun, how do you know what’s going to happen?”
Talking about the replica that police recovered, MacDonald noted the strange manner in which it was found: “OMNI runs that [story] at 8 o’clock on Friday night (November 28) and by noon on Sunday (November 29) an area resident half a block away from the temple finds what was believed to be the weapon discarded on his lawn. Well, that weapon hadn’t been on his lawn for three weeks, I’ll tell you that!”
THE VOICE has been covering the dispute extensively as the following links show:
Abbotsford Police breathe a sigh of relief after no major incidents involving two groups of South Asians youths on Halloween
Mayor offers condolences to family of Abbotsford murder victim Harwindip Baringh, says he’s committed to bringing offenders to justice
Abbotsford Police install security cameras at key locations as deterrents in South Asian youths’ ongoing dispute
Abbotsford Police urge parents to cooperate to end conflict between two South Asian groups
Abbotsford Police warn about ongoing conflict between two South Asian groups, massive damage caused