BRITISH COLUMBIA

Surrey Shootings Leave Community Concerned Over Gun Violence

04/22/2015 01:47 EDT | Updated 06/21/2015 05:59 EDT
Surrey RCMP
More than 700 people attended a Surrey community meeting on Tuesday to figure out how to stop the violence on the city's streets.

Police have declared a gang turf war on the streets of Surrey that has spilled into Delta and resulted in 22 shootings and one homicide in six weeks.

"It could be an out-of-control problem and that's one of the reasons we're trying to get together and look at alternatives and solutions," says one concerned resident Lali Pawa. 

The community has been gripped with fear and some children have been afraid to leave their home, other residents say. 

"It pains me [that] a life has been lost amid this senseless violence ... and it has to stop," says Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner, who attended the community meeting. "The full weight, all agencies are doing significant priority work on this file ... The missing link is the deafening silence."

'Defeaning silence'

Police say they are being stonewalled by the families of the victims who are not coming forward with information on the turf war between rival gangs of Somali and South Asian descent. 

"The people who traffic drugs, people engaged in criminal lifestyle will try to exploit our students," said Surrey RCMP Chief Supt. Bill Fordy, who is urging those with information to contact the tip line.

Another concerned parent, Meera Gill, says the tight-knit Indian community had hoped that it didn't have to involve the police. 

"We're hoping we can change the kids ourselves ... That's the reason we don't go ask the enforcement department to come in," she said. But she agrees things need to change. 

"It would be a denial to say, 'Oh my kids are clean,' and no parent can surely say that. This is the reality."

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