In August, the Abbotsford Police Department issued a warning about a 19-year-old man who they said was in danger of being killed and whose presence in public places could put other lives at risk.
That man, Varinderpal Gill, was killed in a targeted shooting Wednesday night in Mission.
Police indicated in August that Gill, who often went by the name “VP,” was connected to the Lower Mainland gang conflict and had both threatened other people and had threats made against him.
Police said they were concerned that his presence in public places could put the lives of innocent people at risk.
It was a risk that the Abbotsford Police Department (APD) took seriously. Members of the gang crime unit, formed earlier this year, regularly drove by his home and often knocked on the door to check up on Gill.
The street where Gill lived with his family also had a surveillance camera installed – a tactic police use to both deter and catch criminal activity in neighbourhoods of concern.
The APD also encouraged the public to notify them if Gill was in public places such as gyms or restaurants.
An Abbotsford News reporter doing a ride-along with the gang crime unit on Sept. 21 witnessed one such interaction.
At about 9 p.m. that day, the unit received a tip that Gill was dining at an Abbotsford restaurant.
The officers were directed to a particular table when they arrived, but Gill wasn’t there. Instead, they located him in the men’s washroom, and escorted him out of the restaurant.
Gill was told he had to leave. “Every other person in there is at risk,” one officer told him.
Gill – a tall, lanky individual who looked more like a young teenager than an adult – objected to the order, saying he wasn’t doing anything wrong.
“Why are you being mean to me?” he asked the officers.
“Someone’s going to get shot – whacked – because of you,” one of them responded.
Gill eventually left once a cab arrived to pick him up.
The gang crime unit then went back in the restaurant and, after checking the IDs of Gill’s companions, instructed three other men to leave.
After they had all walked away from the table, an officer discovered that one of them had left behind a sharp knife that didn’t belong to the restaurant. But none of them claimed the weapon as theirs.
Now, police are trying to determine Gill’s activities and who he may have had contact with prior to his death, as well as the exact motive for his death.
The shooting occurred at about 9 p.m. at The Junction Shopping Centre at 32555 London Ave. in Mission.
Cpl. Frank Jang, spokesperson for the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team, said Mission RCMP received “numerous reports” of shots being fired.
When they arrived on scene, they found Gill with gunshot wounds, and he was pronounced dead on scene.
One witness at the scene said he heard four loud shots and then saw a vehicle quickly drive away.
According to the witness, the vehicle then circled back towards the original shooting scene, a gun could be seen sticking out of the window, and three more shots rang out.
“This was a brazen shooting in a busy shopping complex, and those responsible showed absolutely no regard for human life,” Jang said.
A few hours later — at 1:14 a.m. – the Abbotsford Police Department was notified of a burning SUV on Bateman Road. The vehicle – a Honda Pilot SUV – is believed to be connected to Gill’s murder.
Police had that area of Bateman Road, between Highway 11 and Latimer Street, blocked off on Thursday morning.
Anyone with information is asked to call the IHIT information line at 1-877-551-IHIT (4448), email firstname.lastname@example.org or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
– with a file from Kevin Mills