VANCOUVER -- A murder charge has been approved against a 33-year-old man in connection with Surrey’s first homicide of 2020.

The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team said Michael James Petronio has been charged with second-degree murder and is scheduled to appear in Surrey provincial court on Friday afternoon.

"Mr. Petronio had some previous police interactions, absolutely, but he was not known to be involved in gangs or drug trafficking," said Const. Harrison Mohr in a news conference on Friday.

Mohr said the victim, 39-year-old Jason Stanley Wells, also had some "police interactions" but had no known ties to gangs or drug trafficking.

Surrey RCMP were called to a strip mall just before 1 a.m. on Thursday near 75A Avenue and Scott Road for reports of a fight.

Witnesses called 911 and one bystander followed the suspect from a distance, leading police to find and arrest him a few blocks from the crime scene. By the time police arrived, the victim was already dead and the suspect had fled the scene, according to police. IHIT also located a weapon they said was "possibly" used in the murder.

"We really want to thank the witnesses that came forward," said Mohr. "Their information was very crucial in securing this very fast second degree murder charge and without them we would’ve had a much bigger hurdle, and this would’ve been a much longer investigation."

Mounties also said video surveillance footage from businesses in the area played a key role in their investigation.

"We also often look to the traffic cameras that Surrey has at various intersections," said Mohr. "These can really help with our timelines, can help identify other persons and vehicles and in this case, were really crucial to forwarding this investigation."

IHIT said they are not looking for any additional suspects, but they are asking anyone who knows the victim or the accused to call them at 1-877-551-4448 or

With files from CTV Vancouver’s Regan Hasegawa