A video showing a group of young men fighting in broad daylight has raised concern with Abbotsford police, who say the incident may be linked to a string of youth clashes in the area.
The ongoing clash, known as the Townline conflict, caused over two dozen confrontations between two groups of young adults since May. Those incidents resulted in thousands of dollars in property damage and prompted a public safety warning from police.
The latest episode took place in the parking lot of the Sikh temple in the Blueridge area of West Abbotsford. While police can’t definitively say whether or not the incident is related to the Townline conflict, Const. Ian MacDonald tells The Huffington Post B.C. that it “certainly seems to fit the template.”
MacDonald says the incident is particularly concerning because a gun is clearly visible lying in the parking lot, which means someone brought the firearm to a fight that broke out in broad daylight.
The gun has since been recovered by police, discarded on someone’s lawn about half a block away from the temple. In this case, it turned out to be a replica — but MacDonald says even fake weapons could have dire consequences.
“If you pull a gun out in a crowd, you’re normally going to get a reaction — especially if that crowd is comprised of people that are already in conflict with each other,” he says. “It ends up being stupid disputes and stupid conflicts, but the potential for someone to be injured — or worse — is absolutely there.”
MacDonald says the lack of reaction from the public was also a concern.
“We would've hoped that people would've phoned us, but that didn't happen — we didn't receive a single call,” MacDonald says. “That’s disappointing, but we’re hoping to use it as a learning opportunity.”
There is a possibility that arrests will be made in connection to the video, MacDonald says, and he asks anyone with information related to the incident to call the police.
The temple is just a few blocks from where the body of 18-year-old Harwindip Singh Baringh was found in an SUV after a shooting. At the time, police said it was too early to say whether the shooting was part of the ongoing Townline conflict, but added that investigators hadn't ruled anything out.
With files from The Canadian Press
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