The Province

BLOOD BROTHER

Three guilty pleas from attack after rupture in Brothers Keepers gang

- KIM BOLAN kbolan@postmedia.com blog: vancouvers­un.com /tag/real-scoop twitter.com/kbolan

Two days after Brothers Keepers founder Gavinder Grewal was shot to death, a deepening rift in his gang led former allies to battle on Vancouver streets.

About 3:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve 2017, a group chased Jitesh Vagh to the door of his rented Yaletown condo. They started beating on him.

One of his assailants stabbed him repeatedly. The attack was captured on a building surveillan­ce camera.

Vagh spent three days in hospital, but refused to co-operate with police.

The attack was part of a split that began in October 2017 when former Brothers Keeper Randy Kang was shot to death in Surrey in what was believed to be an inside job. Police have said Grewal’s murder on Dec. 22, 2017 was in retaliatio­n.

Then came the Vancouver stabbing. Investigat­ors identified the suspects from video footage and eventually three men linked to the Brothers Keepers — Team Grewal — were charged on April 27, 2018.

Harniel Singh faced one count of aggravated assault, while Sumdish Singh Gill and Jaskeert Singh Kalkat were charged with assault.

This month, all three pleaded guilty in Vancouver Provincial Court. Gill and Kalkat each got two-month conditiona­l sentences and a year’s probation. The judges in each case declined to impose firearms prohibitio­ns despite a request from the prosecutor.

Singh pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of assault causing bodily harm for the actual stabbing. His next court appearance is July 8.

Vancouver Police Sgt. Jason Robillard said Monday that his department “will continue to disrupt and prevent criminal activity by gangs. Aside from proactive and collaborat­ive interventi­ons such as the End Gang Life initiative, the VPD is committed to fully investigat­ing gang-related violence.”

“Any conviction against any group involved in the Lower Mainland gang conflict, including the three recent guilty pleas in a Brothers Keepers attack, is a step toward a safer community,” Robillard said.

Postmedia attended Gill’s plea and sentencing hearing on June 20 before Vancouver Provincial Court Judge Ellen Gordon.

Crown prosecutor Adrienne Smith read from an agreed statement of facts that made no mention of the gang link to the assault.

“Jitesh Vagh, the victim, was chased from the intersecti­on of Richards and Smithe, Vancouver, to his home at 888 Homer Street Vancouver, which he tried to enter,” she said. “Mr. Vagh was beaten outside the front door and eventually stabbed approximat­ely 18 times. Mr. Gill participat­ed in the group attack by chasing Mr. Vagh and punching and kicking him to the ground. Mr. Gill is not alleged to be the stabber.”

“During the entirety of the beating, Mr. Vagh remained on the ground on one knee trying to block the stabber by holding his arm up. The entire incident lasted under two minutes. The group, including Mr. Gill, then fled on foot toward Robson Street. Mr. Vagh was taken to the hospital by ambulance.”

She said aggravatin­g factors against Gill were “the nature of the offence being quite violent” and the fact it was a group beating.

The 25-year-old pleaded guilty and had no prior criminal record — both factors in his favour, Smith told Gordon.

Gill’s lawyer Michael Klein noted that his client “is not alleged to be the stabber. Someone else is pleading guilty to that.”

He said Gill grew up in Mission and worked in constructi­on. He had not violated any of his bail conditions, Klein noted.

Gordon said she agreed with the joint submission and imposed the two-month conditiona­l term, followed by a year’s probation.

“The good news that I have heard is that you’ve been on bail now for 14 months and demonstrat­ed that whatever happened that day is not something you want to continue to be involved with,” Gordon told Gill, who declined to address the court.

Afterwards, Gill refused to comment to a reporter about what happened that day.

Meanwhile, no one has been charged in Grewal’s murder, although a year ago, homicide investigat­ors released video footage of suspects in the vicinity of the leased North Vancouver condo where he was killed. Kang’s murder also remains unsolved.

Sgt. Brenda Winpenny, of the Combined Forces Special Enforcemen­t Unit, said Monday that the 2017 stabbing should signal to those involved in gang life that there is no real loyalty. “The assault on Jitesh Vagh is indicative of the internal turmoil and shifting allegiance­s within the gangs involved in the Lower Mainland gang conflict at the time. Your ‘brothers’ are only brothers in name ... they will turn on you if they get the chance,” she said. “We’ve seen it time and time again. The guilty pleas and subsequent sentencing of the individual­s responsibl­e should serve as a reminder that police will be relentless in our pursuit to hold those accountabl­e for their role in jeopardizi­ng the safety of the public, as well as a deterrent and example to those involved in the gang lifestyle to get out.”

 ??  ?? Brothers Keepers’ Gavin Grewal, second from left. Keepers founder Grewal was shot to death Dec. 22, 2017, in retaliatio­n for the shooting death of former Keeper Randy Kang.
Brothers Keepers’ Gavin Grewal, second from left. Keepers founder Grewal was shot to death Dec. 22, 2017, in retaliatio­n for the shooting death of former Keeper Randy Kang.
 ?? RICHARD LAM/PNG FILES ?? Brothers Keepers founder Gavinder Grewal was killed in a suite of this North Vancouver condo building on Dec. 22, 2017. Police say his murder was in retaliatio­n for the shooting death of Randy Kang, a former member of the gang.
RICHARD LAM/PNG FILES Brothers Keepers founder Gavinder Grewal was killed in a suite of this North Vancouver condo building on Dec. 22, 2017. Police say his murder was in retaliatio­n for the shooting death of Randy Kang, a former member of the gang.
 ??  ?? Sumdish Singh Gill, who pleaded guilty to assault this month, is second from the right, peeking over his friend’s shoulder in an undated Brothers Keepers photo.
Sumdish Singh Gill, who pleaded guilty to assault this month, is second from the right, peeking over his friend’s shoulder in an undated Brothers Keepers photo.

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