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Homicide team reveals information on victim of taxi shooting


The taxi passenger fatally shot in Surrey, B.C., earlier this week had recently been convicted of a drug offence, homicide investigators say.

David Chavez-Jara, a resident of the city where he died, was killed Tuesday afternoon in a shooting in the Guildford area.

He'd been a passenger in a cab at the time, and died at the scene. The taxi driver is in hospital with serious injuries.

An outreach worker, who wanted to remain anonymous for her safety, said she's known Chavez-Jara for a long time, describing him as humble and generous.

"He would buy food, clothing for people that really needed it," she told CTV News.

"He was such a nice guy, like, he helped out a lot. He made sure people were OK," she added.

The victim was publicly identified by the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team Wednesday.

IHIT said the 30-year-old was "well known" to police, and had recently been convicted on a charge of possession for the purpose of trafficking.

"When someone like this is killed, they no longer have the opportunity to turn their lives around and to do more for their community," said Sgt. Timothy Pierotti, the media relations officer for IHIT.

Shots were fired at a taxi parked just outside Church’s Chicken at 2:18 p.m. Tuesday.

Witnesses saw Chavez-Jara bleeding and clutching his lower back.

Chavez-Jara's death is believed by IHIT to be targeted. The team did not say whether it has uncovered any ties to ongoing gang violence in the Lower Mainland.

Police say the shooting showed a total disregard for public safety.

"These things unfortunately do happen. Thankfully, it is few and far between. Surrey, and the Lower Mainland in general, is still a safe place to be," said Pierotti.

The taxi driver's employer issued a statement saying he was in stable condition by Wednesday.

Gurminder Singh, general manager of Newton Whalley Hi-Way Taxi Ltd., said he understood the interest in what happened, but that the company does not want to get in the way of the police investigation.

He asked the public to "avoid any unwanted rumours or statement/comments that harm our company's relationships with multiple organizations, might also affect in business, driver earnings."

"Such daylight shootings in commercial vehicles are never acceptable since they pose a major risk to both our drivers and customers," Singh wrote.

"We are considering every aspect of driver and public safety and requesting everyone to be patient as this investigation is (underway)."

He said the company is committed to providing customer service to the community, and that there would be no further comment.

The area has since opened up again and olice are still investigating the case.

Anyone with information or dash cam footage between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Tuesday is urged to contact the IHIT Information Line at 1-877-551-IHIT (4448) or by email at Top Stories

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