A prominent Lower Mainland gang member shot to death in the Morgan Heights neighbourhood of South Surrey early Wednesday (Jan. 6) morning was the first of three young men killed last week and one of five murdered in the Lower Mainland since the end of December – all victims of the region’s ongoing gang conflict, police say.
Gary Kang, 24, was shot at around 5 a.m. inside his family’s home near 161A Street and 30 Avenue. He was known to police, Sgt. Frank Jang of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team said at a press conference Wednesday afternoon near the scene.
Thursday night, Vancouver resident Anees Mohammed died after being shot in a Richmond park.
Jang said Friday that police were “looking into” whether Mohammed’s death was retaliation for Kang’s.
“Two days ago we had a homicide, as we all know… that was linked to this same conflict,” he said. “It’s troubling and concerning to us, and we’re working really hard to make those linkages.”
On Saturday night (Jan. 9), another man who police say was linked to ongoing gang conflict, 28-year-old Dilraj Johal, was found shot to death in his Richmond condo.
In Coquitlam Sunday (Jan. 10), another man was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries after being shot, and a car was found on fire a short time later. Police believe the shooting and the burning vehicle are related, but stated that “it is unclear whether there is any connection to the Lower Mainland gang conflict.”
Kang’s killing followed the shooting death of 14-year-old Tequel Willis, who was found with gunshot wounds in the 11000-block of 148A Street on Dec. 28. One day earlier, 19-year-old Harman Singh Dhesi, was shot and killed in the area of 137A Street and 90 Avenue.
Following Kang’s killing last week, Jang confirmed that there were other family members in the house at the time of the shooting, and added that police are looking for more than one suspect.
“We know that there is more than one involved,” he said.
At around 5:40 a.m. Wednesday, a burning vehicle was located near 229 Street and 78A Avenue in Langley, but Jang could not say for certain if the vehicle was related to the homicide.
Jang added that Kang’s shooting was targeted, while Surrey RCMP Sgt. Elenore Sturko, who also spoke at the press conference, noted that Kang’s murder was the third violent incident in Surrey in the previous nine days, and that all three had one thing is common: the victims were all involved in criminal activity.
Sturko added that following Kang’s death, “there is potential for further retribution” between rival gangs, and warned those involved in drug trafficking that they may be in danger.
Jang said it was “too early” to guess the motive behind Kang’s homicide. Staff Sgt. Lindsey Houghton of the BC Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit later added that IHIT, CFSEU-BC and Surrey RCMP will be working together to pinpoint a motive.
Kang’s brother, Randeep Kang, was killed in a 2017 targeted shooting in Surrey that also left another man injured.
At Wednesday’s press conference, Jang noted that Gary Kang was not the only victim of the early-morning attack.
“His family is also a victim in this tragic and senseless incident, as well as residents of this quiet community,” he said.
Police are looking for people who may have dash-cam footage of either the Morgan Heights area near the time of the shooting, or footage of the area where the burning vehicle was found.
Anyone with more information is asked to contact the Surrey RCMP at 604-599-0502 or IHIT at 1-877-551-IHIT (4448). If they wish to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or www.solvecrime.ca
– with files from Tracy Holmes