Family of murdered Surrey teenager living in fear
Published Wednesday, June 13, 2018 6:09PM PDT
Last Updated Wednesday, June 13, 2018 6:46PM PDT
Residents including the family of a victim are calling on local politicians to do more to curb violence in Surrey a week after the bodies of two teenage boys were left on the side of a road.
Concerns were raised at a rally in the city Wednesday evening, where residents demanded more action to prevent further shootings. Hundreds gathered in the space carrying signs with slogans such as "Wake up, Surrey" and "Every kid matters."
Unidentified organizers asked parents and community leaders to come together at City Hall with the purpose of asking MLAs, MPs, councillors and the mayor to do more to stop gun violence. They asked politicians to bring a "report card" rating how they've addressed the issue so far.
The rally was organized in response to the fear and grief felt by the community following the deaths of 16-year-old Jaskarn (Jason) Singh Jhutty and 17-year-old Jaskaran Singh Bhangal, known to friends as Jesse or Jassi.
The boys were found dead on a rural road the evening of Monday, June 4. Investigators say they believe the shooting was targeted, but that the boys were not known to police.
Among those who planned to attend the city hall demonstration were those who knew Jassi best. In an interview with CTV News, they said they're struggling to understand why Jassi was killed.
In a living room filled with memories of the teen, his sister Sharon told CTV the pair were very close.
"I honestly lost my other half. Right now, there's a space inside me that's just empty because he's gone," Sharon said Wednesday.
Sharon and Jassi were just two years apart in age and told each other everything. She remembers him for his ready smile and the passion for cars he'd hoped to turn into a career as a mechanic.
"He was too young. He had so many dreams. He had a bright future ahead of him, I know that for sure."
On the day of the shooting, Jassi said he was going out to play basketball with friends at a nearby court he visited often.
"He walked there and we expected him to come back home but he never did," Sharon said.
A significant amount of evidence has been gathered since that day, according to the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team. But officials are still asking witnesses to come forward.
"I just want to know why… They were two teenage boys. What could they have done that was so bad that you had to kill them?" Sharon asked.
"It's not fair. It shouldn't be happening. Who's giving these people guns to begin with?"
Sharon said she doesn't know how her community can keep their children safe from future gun violence. She said her parents did everything they could to protect her and her brother.
"Today it's my little brother. Tomorrow it could be yours," she said.
Those wishing to pay tribute to the teens can attend a candlelight vigil on Saturday at 7 p.m. in Holland Park.
The Bhangal family said it is not looking for donations from the community. They said they've come across a fraudulent online fundraiser, which they reported to the website.
A fundraiser set up for Jason's family had raised more than $17,000 in the first week.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Maria Weisgarber and Ben Miljure