Surrey RCMP’s officer in charge took the unusual but not unprecedented step this week of releasing the names and photos of people who were targets in recent shootings, warning that anyone who associates with the five men could be in danger themselves if they are with them.
The five were targeted in shootings in Surrey over the past five weeks, Assistant Commissioner Dwayne McDonald said Monday at a press conference – and each of the five has refused to provide information to the police on these shootings.
“At this point, we must assume that these men continue to be targets and, as such, we are advising the public to be cautious of any interaction with these five individuals.
“Although their lives are in danger, they are refusing to provide details to the police,” McDonald said.
“We believe these individuals also know who the suspects are in many of these cases. They also refused to identify these individuals. As such, these intended victims themselves have become a risk to the safety of our city.”
They are Karman Singh Grewal, 25, of Vancouver, Surrey residents Indervir Singh Johal, 23, and Harmeet Singh Sanghera, 23, and Coquitlam residents Ibrahim Amjed Ibrahim, 29, and Manbir Singh Grewal, 28.
“All have refused to provide statements or information.”
McDonald took a page out of his predecessor’s book.
Former Assistant Commissioner Bill Fordy, now deputy chief of the Niagara Regional Police Services, was Surrey’s top cop in April 2015 when he released to the public the names and photos of gunfire victims during two press conferences related to a series of shootings in Surrey and North Delta that year.
Civil liberties advocates questioned that decision, concerning the balance between privacy and public interest, but Fordy stood his ground and was shortly after roundly applauded at a Surrey Board of Trade luncheon for his stand.
“I expected criticism. I anticipate more criticism. I believe it was the right decision. I would do it again,” Fordy said at the time, to much hand-clapping.
Meantime, McDonald declined to discuss details of the conflict fueling these recent shootings.
“I know the residents of this city are frustrated and I know this has gone on too long,” he said at a press conference Monday, “and you want us to do something. I hear all of your concerns and I share in your frustration. ”
Surrey has had 27 shots-fired incidents so far this year, with six in the month of July. There were 51 by this time last year. Nobody has been arrested in the shootings in which police say these five men were targets.
Surrey Mounties are still trying to identify the owners of three vehicles “of interest” related to a drive-by shooting in Whalley on July 20, and the people who were in those vehicles during the gunfire.
No injuries were reported. The Surrey RCMP said at the time shots were fired from a newer-model two-door charcoal-coloured Honda Civic at a newer-model black Cadillac Escalade, in the 9400-block of 130A Street, at about at about 8:30 p.m. Thursday, July 20. Both took off before police arrived. It happened not far from Betty Huff Elementary School on Huntley Avenue, where children were playing.
Police are looking for a 2015-2017 black Cadillac Escalade ESV Platinum, which they say was targeted in the shooting. They are also looking for a 2001-2005 silver Honda Civic two-door that they say was “associated” to the SUV prior to the shooting, and the suspect vehicle, a 2006-2011 grey Honda Civic two-door. Police obtained images of the three vehicles from surveillance video.
Police ask anyone with information to call 604-599-0502.