Police are monitoring and interacting with local gangsters “multiple times a day” amid concerns that last Friday’s targeted murder of a young man may prompt further acts of retribution and violence.
Jaskarn Lally, 20, was killed Friday afternoon on Chase Street. The murder is the second in Abbotsford in a little more than a month that has been tied to the ongoing Lower Mainland gang war, which is linked to what police once called the Townline Hill conflict.
Lally is believed to have been shot around 2:30 p.m., although more than two hours passed before police were called to the scene. The reason for the time gap is not known. The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team is continuing its probe and has issued a picture of a black Ford F-150 seen leaving the scene of the crime and a plea for information.
Abbotsford Police Const. Ian MacDonald said the latest murder heightens worries that future retribution-fueled violence may be in the offing.
“A lot of people are waiting for the next shoe to drop,” he said.
Police, he said, are aware of the increased potential for violence, both by those who might seek vengeance and those who might seek to inflict more harm.
He said the killings have come despite continued efforts by police to engage with the men – as many as 20 on each side, locally – known to be involved in the conflict.
“Not a day goes by … where we don’t have multiple contacts with people involved in the conflict.”
That often sees police pulling over vehicles and taking enforcement action when possible or, when no crime or violation has been witnessed, trying to convince participants to re-evaluate their situation.
“We try to use those opportunities not just to gather intelligence and figure out who’s where, but also to have sincere conversations with these folks about what they’re doing and where it can lead.”
Both Lally’s killing, and that of Satkar Sidhu in February, happened in broad daylight.
In addition to the recent Abbotsford killings, two men with ties to the conflict – Navdeep Sidhu and Harman Mangat – were gunned down in Edmonton two months ago. And on Jan. 28, two men showed up at Abbotsford Regional Hospital after being shot just after 6 p.m. Last fall, Police Chief Bob Rich said five murders, both inside and outside of Abbotsford, had been linked to the ongoing drug conflict.
IHIT confirmed that Lally was “known to police, and was associated to local gangs.”
Lally and Navdeep Sidhu were both named in a previous lawsuit filed by the Civil Forfeiture Office in connection with the killing of Abbotsford teen Harwin Baringh in October 2014. Civil court documents said Baringh was a member of the “Chahil crime group.” Shortly before his death, Baringh was in his vehicle with a passenger, when they stopped at the side of the road. A second vehicle, occupied by Lally and Sidhu, pulled up beside them, and the two groups had a conversation.
Afterwards, occupants of the two vehicles exchanged gunfire with those in two other cars. The lawsuit saw the province seek to repossess two of the vehicles involved in the exchange.
At the time of his death, Lally was out on bail while on trial for gun charges related to a 2015 incident outside of Dawson Creek in which a man was abducted, driven to a gravel pit and shot several times in the legs. The victim dragged himself to a road, was picked up by a driver and survived.
Lally’s trial was set to resume on April 24. Police had said the shooting was part of a battle for the local drug trade. Charges against three other men had been dropped prior to Lally’s death.
The current conflict dates back more than two years, and over that time MacDonald said some of the APD’s worst fears have been realized.
In 2015, police identified two parallel conflicts: one involved local men battling for drug turf; the other focused on disagreements between two groups of teens and resulted in a lower level of violence and crime. At the time police worried participants in the latter conflict would be recruited by those men involved in the drug battle.
“It would have been awesome if we were wrong about that, but we weren’t,” said MacDonald.
MacDonald said the progression of the conflict, and of those now participating in it, is a warning for parents of young men who are straying into criminal activity and misbehaviour.
The broadening of the conflict has also complicated matters; in addition to the local participants in the violence, out-of-town gang members are also now coming to Abbotsford as the dispute becomes further enmeshed in the regional conflict.
“It’s hard to determine what will be the catalyst for change for these people.”
– With files from Vikki Hopes