Vancouver airport travellers flee in panic as gangster gunned down
Six years ago, Surrey RCMP warned people to steer clear of gangster Karman Grewal after he and his friends were shot at but refused to co-operate with police.
On Sunday, Grewal, who was associated with the United Nations gang, was gunned down in a brazen public execution at Vancouver International Airport. The killer, or killers, opened fire just after 3 p.m. in front of the international terminal.
Panicked travellers ran for cover, thinking it was a mass shooting before realizing the gunman was looking for a specific target.
Two RCMP officers were seen running across the skybridge linking the covered airport parking lot to the domestic terminal at 3:35 p.m. They appeared to be heading toward the south end of that terminal.
A person was shown on social media laying in front of the signage being tended to by another person and an RCMP officer.
Richmond RCMP said its officers intercepted the getaway vehicle, but lost it after the suspects fired at them. No officers were hurt.
The suspects fled in a Honda Pilot. A distraught driver expressed shock at what was unfolding behind him in dash cam video posted on social media.
Despite shutting down all five bridges crossing onto Sea Island, the suspects are thought to have made their way down Hwy 91 and over the Alex Fraser Bridge to Surrey, where the Honda was later found burning in the Royal Heights neighbourhood.
At a news conference Sunday night at the airport, IHIT Sgt. Frank Jang confirmed at least two suspects were involved.
Grewal, 28, was well known to police and the murder is believed to be part of the ongoing Lower Mainland gang conflict. The fatal shooting was the 10th on the Lower Mainland since mid-April.
Sources told Postmedia that sometimes those involved in organized crime arrange meetings at the airport because it is considered safe territory.
Grewal's murder was the first fatal shooting at the airport, though there was a failed attempt on the life of Hells Angel Damion Ryan in 2015 in the airport food fair.
The hired shooter's gun jammed and Ryan fled. The would-be hitman was later convicted.
Grewal had been involved in the criminal world for years.
He was very close to UN gangster Jimi Sandhu, who was deported to India in 2016 for “serious criminality.”
Grewal had faced drug trafficking charges in Grand Prairie, Alta. in 2016.
And he had convictions in B.C. for failure to stop at the scene of an accident, wilfully resisting a police officer and driving a vehicle while disqualified.
His UN gang has been locked in a bloody war with rivals from the Brothers Keepers and Red Scorpion gangs for years.
With two fatal shootings over the weekend and 10 across the region since April 17, former solicitor general Kash Heed, a longtime police officer, said police need to rethink their strategies in dealing with violent gangsters willing to hunt rivals anywhere, anytime.
“Based on the frequency of these violent events that have been occurring in public spaces, it appears that the leaders of law enforcement do not have an assertive plan in place to ensure that the public is safe,” Heed said Sunday.
“It's time for the police to take a very, very aggressive suppressive approach to this particular problem to ensure that the violence stops and the public is safe.”
Most of the recent shootings have been connected to the ongoing gang conflict.
However, the murder a week ago of correctional officer Bikramdeep Randhawa, who was not known to police and was said to be well liked by his co-workers, remains a mystery.
And the shootings of two women — Keryane Arsenault, 20, who was killed May 4 at her residence in Surrey, and a 25-year-old woman injured in Burnaby May 2 — are not believed to be linked to the gang conflict.
Charges have been laid in both women's shootings.
On May 3, a 28-year-old man with links to the Lower Mainland gang conflict was seriously injured in a shooting outside Toys `R' Us in the Willowbrook Mall.
On April 30, a 19-year-old man arrived in a Surrey hospital about 1:30 p.m. with a gunshot wound. He subsequently died of his injuries.
On April 21, longtime United Nations gangster Todd Gouwenberg, 46, was killed in a targeted shooting as he arrived at the Langley Sportsplex to work out with a trainer.
Two days earlier, 20-year-old Bailey McKinney was shot to death in a Coquitlam park.
And on April 17, high-profile Brothers Keepers gangster Harb Dhaliwal was gunned down outside Cardero's restaurant in Vancouver at about 8:30 p.m.
The alleged hitman, Francois Gauthier, was charged after someone in the Dhaliwal group chased him and stabbed him in the eye.