A Surrey man has been convicted of the killings of a Surrey gangster and an innocent Abbotsford man and the attempted murder of two others.
Tyrel Nguyen (also known by the surname Quesnelle), 24, was found guilty on Monday (Nov. 27) of the first-degree murders of Randy Kang, 27, of Surrey on Oct. 27, 2017 and Jagvir Mahli, 19, of Abbotsford on Nov. 12, 2018.
Nguyen was also convicted of the attempted murders of Kang’s brother Gary and the Kangs’ associate, Camilo Alonso, also on Oct. 27, 2017.
Justice Miriam Gropper issued her verdict in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver.
A first-degree murder conviction results in an automatic life sentence with no parole eligibility for 25 years, but a sentencing hearing will be held on the other charges and to allow victim-impact statements to be heard in court.
Much of the Crown’s case was based on the testimony of a police agent, whose name is protected under a publication ban and who was referred to by the initials AB.
AB and Nguyen met as teenagers and later worked together in the drug trade. The court heart that, after AB decided to leave the gang world, he became a police informant in October 2019.
He helped to gather evidence for investigators that included discussions with Nguyen, as well as written conversations on a white board that were recorded through five hidden cameras in an apartment where AB was living in Edmonton.
The two killings were pieced together through the evidence gathered by AB and by investigators.
The court heard that Nguyen was a member of the Brothers’ Keepers gang, which was headed by Gavin Grewal, who was killed in North Vancouver in December 2017. Their rivals were the Red Scorpions, led by Jamie Bacon.
AB was selling drugs for Rohit Kumar, and Nguyen was the manager, the court was told.
The Kang killing resulted after Nguyen and Kumar arranged a meeting with the two Kang brothers and Alonso, who were Red Scorpions associates.
The five men met on a pathway on Alpen Place in Surrey, and Nguyen and Kumar opened fire, the court heard.
Randy Kang was killed, and an autopsy later showed he had received about 40 injuries from 13 bullets.
Gary Kang was shot but survived – he was gunned down in South Surrey in January 2021 – and Alonso hid in some bushes and was unscathed.
AB testified that Nguyen had told him that he and Kumar had been paid $100,000 for the hit. AB said he and Nguyen left the Lower Mainland for Edmonton after the killing because Red Scorpions associates knew where they lived.
Another piece of evidence presented at trial was a music video that Nguyen made and posted on YouTube as a tribute to Grewal.
The video mourned Grewal’s killing and suggested that Kang’s murder was in retaliation.
Rented and stolen vehicles and stolen licence plates were linked to the Kang murder, and CCTV footage from Kumar’s condo building provided additional evidence of the links.
Malhi was killed as he was driving north on Ross Road in Abbotsford on the way to University of the Fraser Valley, where he was a student.
He was rear-ended by a vehicle and, when he got out of his car, he was gunned down. An autopsy showed that he had suffered 40 injuries from eight bullets.
The investigation determined that Malhi had been the “unintended victim” and that his brother had been the target.
Evidence in court showed that a tracking device had been placed on Malhi’s car in the days leading up to his killing. CCTV footage showed that an Acura TL passed the Malhi residence 34 times – including eight times on the day he was killed – over a five-day period.
The Acura was set on fire in Surrey, but a neighbour quickly extinguished the blaze. This resulted in valuable DNA evidence being preserved, including the Smith & Wesson gun that matched the bullets used in the murder, a balaclava that had Nguyen’s DNA on it, fingerprints that matched Nguyen’s on the truck, and a pair of gloves in the driver’s side door that also had his DNA.
AB testified that he was present when Nguyen and another man, Joseph Whitlock, talked about how Whitlock’s gun – a Glock 17 – had jammed at the murder scene. Whitlock’s DNA was also found on gloves in the Acura.
AB also testified that he was present when Nguyen and Whitlock picked up and divided the $30,000 they were paid for the killing.
In reaching her decision, Justice Gropper said she found AB’s testimony to be credible and did not agree with the defence argument that Nguyen knew details about the killings because of what he had been told by others.
“In discussing the details with AB, the conversations are in writing on a white board that are promptly erased, and the white board is in an apartment that only AB and Mr. Nguyen are present,” she said.
“If the details were provided to Mr. Nguyen from other sources, he would not need to take such careful steps to ensure that they were not observed or recorded … He would not be so concerned with the writing being so secret if the details are well known among others.”