Victim of Delta, B.C. shooting identified as corrections officer; was not known to police
VANCOUVER -- Police in Delta have shared the identity of the man shot and killed in a parking lot at a shopping centre near Surrey on Saturday afternoon.
The victim was 29-year-old Surrey resident Bikramdeep Randhawa, the Delta Police Department said in a news release Sunday.
Randhawa was not known to police, according to the department.
“Our thoughts are with the victim’s family and friends, as they now start to deal with their loss,” said Insp. Guy Leeson, head of investigative services for DPD, in the release.
While they still believe the shooting was targeted because of the behaviour of the suspects, police said the motive for the shooting is unknown.
Randhawa worked as a corrections officer, and police said they are working to determine whether his occupation was a factor in his killing.
“We’re looking at all possible aspects as to why this crime was committed,” said Leeson. “We will examine every potential motive thoroughly, whether it was a case of mistaken identity, a matter related to his personal life or if there is a possibility the shooting was related to the victim’s occupation.”
The shooting happened shortly before 5 p.m. on Saturday at Scottsdale Centre near the intersection of Scott Road and 72 Avenue, according to a news release from the Delta Police Department.
When officers arrived at the scene, they found a man who was in critical condition.
“Despite the best efforts of Emergency Health Services, unfortunately the victim in this incident did pass away,” said Leeson in an earlier release.
On Sunday, B.C. Government Employees Union president Stephanie Smith issued a statement offering condolences to Randhawa's friends and family.
"We are all shocked and devastated at the loss of one of our own," Smith said. "While the loss of any member under any circumstances is a tragedy, the public and violent nature of Bikramdeep’s death make this loss immeasurably worse, especially for the members at Fraser Regional Correctional Centre who counted him as a colleague and a friend."
"In the coming days and weeks, the BCGEU will be focused on making sure our members are supported as they grieve with Bikramdeep’s loved ones and that our members’ mental, emotional and physical safety are a priority going forward," she added.
Shortly after the shooting, a vehicle was set on fire in Burnaby in an alley near Clinton Street in the Royal Oak neighbourhood.
Delta police confirmed Sunday that this vehicle was the suspect vehicle in the Scottsdale Centre shooting.
No arrests have been made, and police said they would not be releasing any details about possible suspects on Sunday.
Police also said they've been unable to determine, so far, whether the shooting is linked to the ongoing Lower Mainland gang conflict.
“We’re asking anyone who knew Mr. Randhawa, or who could have information related to why he was targeted in this manner, to please contact police at 604-946-4411, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477,” said Leeson.
He also acknowledged the "very public" nature of the shooting, saying police are "very much aware" of the risk to innocent bystanders.
"Fortunately it doesn’t appear there was anyone else injured during this incident," he said.
Sujay Nazareth was inside the Walmart at Scottsdale Centre when he began hearing from staff and other customers that shots had been fired in the parking lot. He told CTV News he was initially skeptical, thinking there are lots of noises that can sound like gunshots.
Soon, though, he heard an announcement over the loudspeaker at Walmart, saying that the store was being locked down and asking people to remain calm.
Nazareth said customers in the store were initially not allowed to leave, as they watched police gather in the parking lot and put up yellow tape around the scene.
Eventually, people were allowed to leave the Walmart through the shopping mall, but not through the direct exit to the parking lot, Nazareth said. Many peoples’ cars were behind police tape and they weren’t allowed to access their vehicles.
Nazareth, who lives nearby, said he walked home instead.
By Sunday afternoon, the crime scene had been "released," and people were invited to retrieve their vehicles from the parking lot, police said.