The Abbotsford Police Department (APD) and other police agencies have issued a warning that the lives of friends, family members and associates of those involved in the current gang conflict are at risk.
“In the strongest terms possible, we must emphasize that it is not safe to be in the company of those involved in the Lower Mainland gang conflict,” said APD Const. Ian MacDonald in a press release.
He said police frequently warn gang members that they are putting themselves at risk, but it’s not often that the warning is extended to those around them.
“This is one of those times,” MacDonald said.
He said despite “aggressive enforcement” and prevention campaigns, police and the communities in which they serve are continuing to grapple with the negative impact to public safety that the conflict has created.
Staff Sgt. Lindsey Houghton of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFSEU) BC echoed MacDonald’s concerns.
“When incidents of violence take place on our streets, it puts innocent members of our communities at risk, and when you associate with individuals with ties to organized crime, not only do you jeopardize the safety and security of the public, but also that of your own life,” Houghton said.
He said the CFSEU is works closely with other police agencies in the Lower Mainland and throughout B.C. to deter gang members and diminish violence.
The warning comes just days after Satkar Sidhu, 23, was fatally shot on Steelhead Court in Abbotsford.
The targeted shooting occurred in a residential neighbourhood – just a block away from Dave Kandal Elementary – at 9:40 a.m. on Monday.
Three men who were in a vehicle that police spotted speeding away from the scene were arrested not long after, but were later released without charges.
The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team is continuing to investigate.
The APD has issued similar warnings in the past, including in 2009 to anyone associated with Abbotsford’s Bacon brothers, who were involved in the Red Scorpions gang, which was at war with the UN Gang.
Warnings were also issued in 2011 to those associated with the Dhak-Duhre group and in 2015 to those linked to three men – Sandeep Sidhu, Jimi Sandhu and Gavin Grewal – who the APD said posed a “significant” public risk.
Grewal has since been arrested and charged with manslaughter in relation to the 2010 shooting death of Mandy Johnson, while Sandhu has been deported to India.
Sidhu’s brother, Navdeep, was killed in a targeted shooting in Edmonton on Jan. 11, along with associate Harman Mangat. Both were previously involved in Abbotsford’s Townline Hill conflict, which police say is now part of the larger Lower Mainland gang war.
Anyone with information about the current gang conflict is asked to contact the APD gang tip line at 604-864-4777 or the non-emergency line at 604-859-5225; email firstname.lastname@example.org; or text abbypd (222973).
They can also contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.