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B.C. murder victim was facing sentencing in 2020 gang gunfight

Amritpal Saran, 25, was due for sentencing on Tuesday on two charges

The victim of a fatal shooting Saturday night (Jan. 20) in Abbotsford is a man who was due for sentencing on Tuesday in relation to a 2020 gang shootout, The Abbotsford News has learned.

A reliable confidential source has confirmed that the man shot in a covered parkade outside the Best Buy at Sevenoaks Shopping Centre is Amritpal Saran, 25.

Saran, who was known by the nickname “Umba,” is Abbotsford’s first homicide of the year.

Const. Art Stele, media relations officer with the Abbotsford Police Department (APD), said reports came in at 5:51 p.m. about shots being fired.

Officers who arrived on scene found a man who had been shot and had life-threatening injuries. Stele said the man – whom he did not identify – died on scene.

Saran had been scheduled for sentencing Tuesday in Abbotsford provincial court after he pleaded guilty to two charges on what was supposed to be the first day of his trial on May 15, 2023.

He pleaded guilty to possession of a restricted firearm and unauthorized possession of a firearm in a motor vehicle. Among the three charges that were stayed was unlawfully firing a gun.

RELATED: Man involved in Abbotsford gunfight pleads guilty to 2 charges

Saran was charged following an incident that took place Aug. 29, 2020 in the 33800 block of Mayfair Avenue.

Police reported at the time that a man said he and his girlfriend were in a vehicle in the driveway when occupants of a dark pickup fired shots at them, hitting the car and the house.

The suspects sped away, and nobody was injured.

The Abbotsford Police Department then announced on Dec. 10, 2020 that Saran – the man who had said he had been shot at – had been charged.

A court decision from Dec. 17, 2020 provided more details about the incident, after Saran was denied bail.

Judge Gregory Brown said in his ruling that Saran appeared to be “entrenched in a gangs-and-guns lifestyle,” and there was a strong case to prove that he had been the first to fire at gang rivals.

According to the court documents, Saran told police that he and his girlfriend were in a Volkswagen Jetta in his driveway when three or four occupants of a Ford F-150 pickup truck fired shots at them, hitting the car and the house.

Saran ran to the backyard of his home, and the girlfriend, who was in the driver’s seat, told police that she drove the Jetta into the truck and even temporarily drove after the pickup, but returned shortly afterwards, court documents stated. Nobody was injured.

Judge Brown wrote in his bail decision that video evidence allegedly showed that as a pickup truck pulled up to his home on Aug. 29, Saran jumped out of the passenger seat of the Jetta.

“Mr. Saran continually shot at the truck for about three seconds and the occupants of the truck then shot back … The video clearly depicts a gunfight in this residential neighbourhood and Mr. Saran was the first shooter,” Brown wrote.

RELATED: Man allegedly involved in Abbotsford gang-related gunfight is denied bail

Brown said the APD’s gang crime unit had identified Saran as a “public safety risk” and that he was allegedly known to carry a firearm. In 2019, Saran supposedly indicated that he was being targeted by rival gang members, but he did not take advantage of any exit options offered by police.

Saran, who had no prior criminal record, sought to be released from custody on $10,000 cash or a $50,000 surety and with stringent conditions that included a tight curfew, living at home with his parents, and not associating with known criminals.

But the judge agreed with the Crown that Saran should be detained due to the “gravity of the offence.” Brown referenced past gang violence in Abbotsford, saying that “sometimes innocent people are injured or killed in the crossfire.”

It’s not clear in court records when Saran was released from custody.

Police say the investigation into Saran’s killing is in the early stages but it appears to be targeted. The investigation is now being headed by the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team.

Anyone with information about the incident or who has dash-cam or CCTV footage is asked to call the IHIT info line at 1-877-551-4448.

A large police presence is on scene outside Sevenoaks Shopping Centre following a fatal shooting on Saturday night (Jan. 20). (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)
A large police presence is on scene outside Sevenoaks Shopping Centre following a fatal shooting on Saturday night (Jan. 20). (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)