A flurry of fatal shootings in Surrey and Langley are not linked, and are not gang-related, police say.
In a seeming unprecedented spate of violence over Christmastime, five people were shot, four fatally. Three of those fatal shootings, and one nonfatal attack, were in Surrey. Another fatal shooting occurred in Langley.
“Each of the new investigations are still very preliminary, but investigators are confident that there are no links between the homicides,” said Supt. Dan Malo, officer in charge of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT). “These are very separate and tragic events that are only linked by the fact that they took place during this Holiday Season.”
The bloodshed began on Christmas Eve at a party on 13100-block 67A Avenue, where Bradley McPherson, 28, was shot and killed.
His mother Susan has since made a plea to the public for help.
“My family and I would like to address the community and ask anyone who has any information into who is responsible for this to come forward,” Susan McPherson said in a release. “Bradley was a fun loving man who loved his family and he was in no way involved in illegal activity. This was a senseless act which has taken a son away from his mother forever.”
Then on Christmas Day, 27-year-old Alok Gupta was covering a shift at Ken’s Grocery at 11779 96 Avenue.
He was found that afternoon, unresponsive, and suffering from an apparent gunshot wound.
The Kwantlen business student was taken to hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.
His uncle, Jugal Gupta told CKNW the family is devastated.
“Especially his mother is, I can’t describe, she’s not able to speak, she’s totally devastated,” Jugal Gupta said. “The only son and he had some great dreams and you know.”
Alok had arrived in Canada from India about a year ago.
He had a degree in mechanical engineering and an MBA.
On Boxing Day, a 54-year-old woman was shot in the chest in an apartment in the 13300-block King George Boulevard in Whalley.
She is expected to make a full recovery.
That evening, a man, now identified as 38-year-old Jeremy Olivier Bettan, was killed in his driveway in Langley, in what is believed to be a targeted killing.
Hours later, on Tuesday morning, another man was shot, bringing the holiday death toll to four.
Surrey’s Apollo-Lyn Simpson, 28, was found dead on his front lawn in the 9500-block 125 Street Tuesday at about 8:30 a.m.
Daljit Gill lives a few houses away and heard four loud bangs in rapid succession at around 7:30. She thought it was someone using a nail gun.
She said its typically a quiet neighbourhood, but the people who lived in the house where the shooting took place caused her some concern.
The motive for Tuesday’s shooting is not yet known.
“IHIT will continue to work diligently to advance each individual investigation on behalf of the families who have suffered such terrible losses,” Malo said.
Acting Mayor Marvin Hunt said the week’s bloodshed was a complete and unnecessary tragedy.
The fact that they’re happening here is too close to home, he notes.
“This is a group of people who could care less whether they’re in Surrey, Delta, Burnaby or Vancouver,” Hunt said. “Certainly, these happening in Surrey is absolutely terrible.”
He said that before the holiday murders, Surrey was at nine homicides, which was almost a record low.
Even after the recent killings, Surrey is below average for annual homicides – which has worked out to 13 annually for the past decade.
He notes, the killings are about more than just numbers.
“Every one is a tragedy, no doubt about it,” Hunt said.
Anyone with information about any of the shootings is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or visit their website at Solvecrime.ca