Hundreds came out Friday evening to remember the victim in last weekend’s brazen daylight shooting outside North Delta’s Scottsdale Centre mall.
Family, friends and colleagues of Bikramdeep Randhawa gathered in the parking lot of Scottsdale Centre on May 7 for a candlelight vigil honouring the 29-year-old Surrey resident who was gunned down in broad daylight on May 1 in what appears to have been a targeted shooting.
Randhawa, who worked as a corrections officer at Fraser Regional Correctional Centre in Maple Ridge was not known to police.
Insp. Guy Leeson, head of Investigative Services for the Delta Police Department, said based on the behaviour of the suspects the incident is considered to be targeted, but the motive for the shooting is not known.
“We’re looking at all possible aspects as to why this crime was committed,” Leeson said in a press release May 2. “We will examine every potential motive thoroughly. Whether it was a case of mistaken identity, a matter related to his personal life or if there is a possibility the shooting was related to the victim’s occupation.”
No arrests have been made and police are not releasing any information about possible suspects.
On Friday, family and friends lit candles, laid flowers and held a moment of silence in remembrance of Randhawa — Bikram or Randy to his friends and co-workers — and shared memories of him as a kind, caring and selfless young man who worked hard and brightened a room with his sense of humour.
“This scar will never go away from our hearts and minds. And we pray to God now that Bikramdeep, wherever his soul be, rest in peace,” Randhawa’s uncle, Joginder Singh Randhawa, told the crowd on behalf of the family and Bikramdeep’s parents back in India.
“We all feel sorrow, so I am very thankful for the sympathy that you have in your minds, and our family is grateful to you.”
Joginder later told the Reporter how Bikramdeep was tireless and hard-working, both in school and at his job. The 30-year Delta resident talked about how his nephew was taking university courses in pursuit of his dream of one day becoming a police officer.
“We are all in deep shock, the whole community,” he said.
He described Bikramdeep as someone who acted as a big brother to his closest friends, and who was always there to give needed advice.
Several of Bikramdeep’s colleagues also described him in similar terms.
“I had the pleasure of working beside him. He was always nice to me, always a fun guy in the room. He’d make you laugh. He was always welcoming — offered you food, drink, anything to make you stay and chat, make the day at work a little bit better,” said Ira Kibbe, Bikramdeep’s former supervisor and chair of BCGEU Component 1 Local 104.
Another co-worker shared a story of meeting Bikramdeep on one of his first days on the job.
“He was very inviting, very friendly kind of man. He invited me, he spoke with me, he gave me a rundown of how things work and he treated me like an equal. Even though he had just met me only five minutes ago, he was already treating me like I was one of his friends, he was treating me as a colleague, and I’ll never forget that. It set the tone for how I viewed Bikram going forward,” he said.
“He was a good man, he was very compassionate, and he cared for his members and cared for his team and he cared for his friends. That is something we will never, ever forget. Now I know he’s up there, and I hope that he rests easy. We’re all going to miss him from down here.”
“Anyone who knew him knew how caring and loving he was. He always went out of his way to be there for others and always had a smile on his face,” said another co-worker. “Also, we all knew how cheeky he was and always had something cheeky to say that would put a smile on one’s face. If you were having a bad day, all you had to do was go see Randhawa and he would put a smile on your face.”
While addressing the crowd, Joginder Randhawa called on those responsible to turn themselves in to Delta police, and made a passionate appeal for elected officials at all levels of government, specifically naming Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum, to commit the resources and manpower necessary to put an end to the violence.
“Come forward and save the community from gang violence.”
Wake Up Surrey organizer Sukhi Sandhu, who also spoke at the vigil, said gang violence is a multi-faceted issue that requires the entire community to “step forward.”
“Over the last 30-4o years we’ve lost too many of our youth — over 400 — to gang violence and targeted shootings,” Sandhu said.
“The moment our community is silent, if our community leadership is silent (…) that is the day we have given up. Our political leaders, our community leaders, our business community need to speak out. We need to stand together, because this social disease in our community has gone on for too long. We need to take some ownership.
“A significant number of our youth are doing some amazing things. They’re doing it the right way, getting an education, working hard and trying to make a difference. Good citizenship. But there’s also an element that we need to confront and condemn. We need to condemn them. (…) This cannot be normalized.”