Two long-time friends of murder victim Jagvir Malhi, 19, say he was a role model in the community and “the furthest thing away” from being a gangster.
The pair, who didn’t want their names published, said they want to dispel the notion that Malhi may have been involved in any criminal activity.
Malhi was gunned down Monday afternoon while he was in his vehicle in the area of Ross and Simpson roads.
The following day, the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) issued a press release in which they said they believed the killing was “not random” and was related to the Lower Mainland gang conflict.
However, IHIT has not elaborated on that statement to clarify the specifics on how Malhi’s death might be connected to the conflict, including whether he was directly involved or whether the shooter(s) were.
Investigators have also not divulged whether Malhi might have been killed because he was connected to someone involved in the dispute.
His friends who spoke to the Abbotsford News say they have no idea why Malhi was killed, but he was most definitely not involved in any criminal behaviour.
In contrast, they say he was a role model for others.
“He was the type of guy who would talk to every single person … He would include everyone, always showed everyone respect,” one of the friends said.
They said Malhi – whose friends called him by his nickname, “Juggy” – was a second-year criminology student at University of the Fraser Valley who wanted to be a corrections officer.
He was also studying for his real estate licence, and planned to go into business with one of his friends after they both completed those studies.
They said Malhi was also an “all-around athlete” – a star basketball player at his high school, W. J. Mouat Secondary, who also played soccer and football.
He regularly took part in Friday night basketball sessions at Mouat.
“He was always the first one there, trying to get more people to come and play,” one of the friends said.
He said that he and Malhi had also recently discussed, and were seriously considering, coaching basketball at Mouat, after an opportunity arose there.
The two friends say that Malhi was also involved in the school’s leadership team and, as such, helped organize and set up for school activities, including pep rallies.
He had a kind and giving heart, the two say, sharing a story about the time that Malhi and another friend purchased about 80 fast-food chicken sandwiches and passed them out to homeless people.
The friends say Malhi was the “mature one,” a positive person who was always trying “to put a smile on your face” and “the most caring guy we knew.”
They say they know that he wasn’t involved in any gang-related activities because they spent so much of their time together, didn’t keep anything from one another and it just wasn’t in his character.
Malhi was on his way to school Monday afternoon when the shooting occurred. His friends say they are still trying to process what happened.
“It’s still unbelievable to us because we lost such a good friend at such a young age.”
They say they are dismayed by those who see the words “gang-related” and assume the worst in Malhi. They want people to know he was anything but.
“We just don’t want him to be known as a gangster, gang-banger, because he was a really good guy for the community, and he was always caring about his friends and family, and he was caring about everyone around him,” one of the friends said.