Mayor of Sur­rey gets po­lit­i­cal over lat­est fa­tal gang shoot­ing

Vancouver Sun - - CITY - JOSEPH RUTTLE With a file from The Cana­dian Press

The fa­tal shoot­ing of a 22-yearold man in a Sur­rey neigh­bour­hood early Fri­day was a trag­i­cally fa­mil­iar mo­ment of vi­o­lence in a city be­set by a roil­ing bat­tle for gang turf.

What’s dif­fer­ent this time is the politi­ciza­tion of the in­ci­dent in its im­me­di­ate af­ter­math, as Sur­rey’s new mayor waded in with his views on the killing even as homi­cide in­ves­ti­ga­tors worked at the crime scene.

At 1:30 a.m. Fri­day, a 22-year-old man who po­lice say is linked to the con­tin­u­ing gang war was shot in the 14200-block of 70A Av­enue.

By 10:15 a.m., Sur­rey Mayor Doug McCal­lum is­sued a state­ment call­ing it “yet an­other ex­am­ple of the on­go­ing trauma and fear that are be­ing in­flicted on the com­mu­ni­ties, res­i­dents and fam­i­lies of Sur­rey.

“This lat­est in­ci­dent of deadly gun vi­o­lence fur­ther em­pha­sizes the need for the City of Sur­rey to have its own city po­lice force.”

De­spite the new city coun­cil hav­ing been sworn in just days ago, McCal­lum also sug­gested the move to a city po­lice depart­ment is run­ning into “road­blocks” from the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment.

“I am dis­mayed by the re­sis­tance that is be­ing en­coun­tered at the pro­vin­cial level. The over­whelm­ing man­date that we have been given by the peo­ple is to com­plete the tran­si­tion to a Sur­rey Po­lice Depart­ment as quickly as pos­si­ble,” said the mayor.

The com­mand­ing of­fi­cer of the RCMP in the prov­ince re­sponded about six hours later with her own strong words.

“State­ments like this risk un­der­min­ing pub­lic trust and con­fi­dence in polic­ing,” said deputy com­mis­sioner Brenda But­ter­worth-Carr.

“With a homi­cide of this na­ture, peo­ple are al­ready re­luc­tant to come for­ward. Any ero­sion of pub­lic trust and con­fi­dence chal­lenges our abil­ity to solve com­plex cases with as­sis­tance from peo­ple who are of­ten re­luc­tant to par­tic­i­pate in the first place.”

Pub­lic Safety Min­is­ter Mike Farn­worth also re­sponded to McCal­lum’s claims in a state­ment, say­ing the gov­ern­ment is work­ing with Sur­rey on its polic­ing plan.

“No one is putting up any road­blocks,” said Farn­worth.

“We are pre­pared to work with the mayor. He has to be will­ing to work, too. A new po­lice force isn’t cre­ated over the week­end, but the prov­ince is com­mit­ted to work­ing with the city as they move for­ward.”

The min­is­ter said the gov­ern­ment wants to make sure a strong plan is in place that en­sures peo­ple in Sur­rey have polic­ing they can be con­fi­dent in.

The gov­ern­ment has in­vested in anti-gang pro­grams in Sur­rey and en­hanced polic­ing and will con­tinue to work to en­sure peo­ple feel safe, he said.

Premier John Hor­gan said there is a “se­ri­ous is­sue” with gang shoot­ings in the Lower Main­land and the prov­ince wants to ad­dress that. He said the prov­ince would work with McCal­lum when the mayor of­fers a plan.

“We need to have a plan. You can’t just get in front of a mi­cro­phone and say, ‘Why haven’t you fixed this?’ It takes work and he knows that full well.”

JA­SON PAYNE

The shoot­ing death of a 22-year-old man early on Fri­day in the 14200-block of 70A Av­enue in Sur­rey has been linked to a gang bat­tle.

Doug McCal­lum

Brenda But­ter­worth-Carr

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