A cellphone video recorded of a recent fight in the parking lot of the Sikh temple on Blueridge Drive has highlighted some concerning issues for police.
The video was sent last week by a private citizen to multicultural station OMNI Television and was then viewed by Abbotsford Police.
Const. Ian MacDonald said the footage, showing two young men in a physical fight as others cheer them on, could be related to the ongoing Townline Hill conflict.
He said police have been going through the footage frame by frame to identify the people involved.
A primary concern of police is that, about 13 seconds into the video, a gun can be seen on the ground, having apparently dropped from someone’s pocket.
MacDonald said a gun believed to be the one in the video was recovered by police on Sunday. A resident spotted it on his lawn and reported it to police, who then determined that it was fake.
MacDonald said the weapon was actually a pellet gun that uses fake hollowed-out bullets into which the pellets are placed.
“If someone were to brandish it, you wouldn’t know whether it’s real or not,” he said.
MacDonald said producing the replica gun during the fight could have resulted in other weapons, such as a knife or a real gun, being used by others on scene, with the potential for serious injury or death.
He said another concern is that although the fight took place in broad daylight in a busy location, police did not receive any calls about it.
Police have been reporting since July that there has been a conflict between two groups of young men, ages 15 to 25, in the Townhill area of Abbotsford, and have called for the public’s help in reporting incidents.
“Our first priority is to galvanize and get support behind trying to do something to end this conflict,” MacDonald said.
According to police, the incidents began in May with mainly property damage and mischief, such as keying cars and smashing windows.
In mid-August, the Abbotsford Police Department had video cameras installed on two different streets in the area that had been identified as the “hot spots” for much of the activity.
At the end of November, police reported that the incidents were becoming more serious and had included two deliberately set car fires that could have spread to the adjacent homes.
MacDonald said police are continuing to look at the recent video, including enhancing the footage, to determine who was involved and whether any charges should be laid.
(Photo below: A local citizen reported finding this replica gun on his front lawn on Sunday. It was seized by police and is believed to be the same one seen in the video of the fight at the Sikh temple.)