Memorial golf tournament honours murdered Cloverdale Dad
More than 90 golfers filled the greens of Tsawwassen Springs Golf Course Saturday afternoon in support of Paul Bennett.
Bennett was a nurse, hockey coach, and father of two. He died last June, after being fatally shot outside his Surrey home.
Police later confirmed his death was a case of mistaken identity.
Nearly a year later, his wife, Darlene Bennett, says the family has been given few answers.
"Of course I want to know. It's the most important thing. It's the thing I need to find closure and move on," she tells CTV News.
The 47-year-old was a volunteer coach for the Cloverdale Colts. The Cloverdale Minor Hockey Paul Bennett Love of Hockey Bursary was created in his honour.
"He didn't start playing until he was an adult…his parents weren't able to afford the gear and pay the fees,” the widow says. .
As an adult, Bennett played for the Delta-based Bottom Feeders for more than 10 years.
As part of tradition, the team would go golfing at the end of every hockey season to wrap up the year.
As a nod to this tradition, his former teammates wanted to honour him by hosting a memorial golf tournament.
"This event is about awareness about what happened and keeping his memory alive,” said organizer Nick Kyrtsos.
The event raised more than $9,000, with all proceeds going toward causes that were near to his heart.
The money will pay for at least two underprivileged kids to play hockey for a season.
The remainder will be given to BC Victim's Services, the Peach Arch Hospital Foundation and the Vancouver General Hospital Foundation.
Widow fears civic police fear transition could jeopardize investigation
The tournament was held on the same day as a Surrey Police Force public consultation in South Surrey.
Bennett is concerned the new force could impede her husband’s investigation.
She fears the change will sever the rapport she’s built with Integrated Homicide Investigation Team detectives.
"I don't want this whole thing to jeopardize Paul's right to justice because that's what this is about."
Resident Nancy McNabb is also opposed to the change.
"The laws are the things that are weak. I don't think it's the police themselves," she says.
But some of her neighbours feel cases like Bennett’s could benefit from a police force focused on one city alone.
"The motivation of the RCMP is fair and reasonable, but I don't think it's our motivation. There's a difference between their mandate and our wishes,” argues resident Bob Oliver.
Bennett says debate over the new force has added stress to her already grieving family. She’s encouraging citizens who share her concerns to reach out to their local MLAs and the premier.
"We have to come as a community and demand that there's a referendum on this issue."