The 22-year-old man shot dead in his Cloverdale driveway Tuesday had been involved in shootings as far back as 2015, police revealed on Wednesday.
At an Integrated Homicide Investigation Team press conference Wednesday afternoon, Cpl. Meghan Foster said that Pardeep Singh had been offered RCMP protection in the past after he had been involved in four shootings in less than 24 hours.
“We engaged with him to offer assistance and [told] him that his life might be in danger,” said Foster. “We met at the time and did what we could to facilitate the safety of everyone involved.”
Foster told reporters that Singh was “an unco-operative victim in 2015,” although police did not consider those shootings to be gang-affiliated.
Singh was found dead in a residential neighbourhood near 166 Street and 63B Avenue around 9 p.m.
Speaking in the hours after his death, neighbours said they had heard gunshots in the area before it was swarmed by police and forensics teams.
Foster said that the IHIT remains on the lookout for a light coloured minivan that was seen fleeing the area at the time of the shooting.
On Tuesday night, lit up by police lights and only a dozen metres from Singh’s tarp covered body, half a dozen neighbours insisted that it was a safe, quiet neighbourhood.
Speaking to Black Press Wednesday, Cloverdale resident Diana Brun disagreed. The area, she said, has actually gone “quite downhill” in the last few years, as the streets were opened up for a nearby townhouse development.
Brun, who lives on the street Singh was gunned down on, called the shooting into police.
She had been about to turn in for the night on Tuesday evening when she heard what she thought were fireworks coming from next door.
“I just put two and two together,” she said. “Nobody’s lighting fireworks off. Then it clued in, maybe those were shots. So I went to the front of the house. The windows were open. It didn’t take long, I could hear yelling.”
“I knew that wasn’t right, so I ran back, grabbed my phone and called the police,” she said.
Her neighbour, as it turned out, had been the victim Surrey’s 33rd shooting this year. Singh would be found dead in his driveway when RCMP arrived.
Brun wasn’t terribly surprised. She’s not happy with the direction the neighbourhood has been heading.
“There are a lot more cars, a lot more [of the] younger generation that are just whipping up and down the road, not really caring who is on the street,” she said.
“We know that there are drug houses in the area, there were halfway houses in the area,” she said.
She doesn’t attribute the increase in crime to an increase in population, but says it’s the people who happened to move in.
Singh is believed to be one of them. He’s said to have moved to the area from Delta a year ago; however the house was sold in June, with new residents scheduled to take possession in September.
Foster admitted that Singh was “not involved in the greatest of activities” but said that it was premature to say that these activities led to his death. She deferred questions about Singh’s gang involvement, and the role it may have played in his homicide, to the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit.
Cpl Foster says families are generally cooperative with gang related investigations. Stayed tight lipped about hang associates pic.twitter.com/wQmfH5MzfV— Kat (@katslepian) August 30, 2017
In July, when a 64-year-old woman from Toronto was hit during a drive-by shooting in, Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner said she was “furious” and vowed that the city would fight the violent, organized crime with everything it has.
It’s innocents being hit that worries Brun. She has two children, 10 and almost eight, who will be walking to school alone for the first time this year.
“I’m not going to stop my kids from walking around, but they always have to be together and they can never walk alone. They can’t walk at night. Everything is done during the day,” she said.
“They’re not out there looking for innocent bystanders or innocent people. They’re looking for somebody specific.”
Even if they aren’t aiming for her, Brun is frustrated that they would dare shoot up her neighbourhood.
“It still doesn’t give them the right. If anything, I think I’m more angered than scared about the safety,” she said. “I’m pretty ticked off that they’re doing this in residential areas.”
Brun remembered when she went to the front of the house to look out on the street after she heard what she thought were fireworks. She was standing at the window, listening to the yelling coming from next door, and watching a person walking their dog across the street.
“It’s not late. It’s just about 9 p.m. They’re just walking their dog,” she said. “I’m like, keep going, keep going.”
“What if they were walking on [the other] side of the street when it happened? Could they have been injured or killed too?”