A 28-year-old Syrian refugee has been charged with murder after the body of a 13-year-old Burnaby girl was found in a park last summer.
Ibrahim Ali, of Burnaby, is accused of first-degree murder in connection with the slaying of Marrisa Shen in Central Park on July 18, 2017.
Ali had moved to Canada just four months before Marrisa was killed, Integrated Homicide Investigation Team Supt. Donna Richardson said Monday.
|IHIT Supt. Donna Richardson speaks with reporters after announcing charges in the "random" killing of Marrisa Shen in Burnaby. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
“We still believe that this crime was a random act, meaning that Marrisa did not know the suspect,” said Richardson.
“As far as motive is concerned… I am not able to discuss those matters in order to protect our future judicial proceedings.”
IHIT Cpl. Frank Jang read out a statement from the Shen family, thanking police, the media and the public for their help in the 14 months since Marrisa’s death.
“We hope that justice will now be served and that Marrisa can finally be at peace in heaven,” Jang said.
Police first became aware of Ali two weeks ago. He does not have a criminal record or evidence of mental illness and is currently a permanent resident.
He was arrested in Burnaby last Friday, after a massive investigation.
“More than 1,300 residents in the area surrounding Central Park were canvassed, over 600 interviews were conducted, over 2,000 persons of interest were identified and over 1,000 hours of video were collected from more than 60 locations,” Richardson said.
There is no evidence that religious ideology played any part in the killing, she said, adding she hoped the charge would not create backlash against the region’s refugees.
“I think by and large, our refugees who come to the country are hardworking citizens that are very happy to be in Canada,” she said.
“I would just hope that we look at this incident for what it is: a one-off situation.”