Surrey residents rise against violence in wake of shooting deaths of two teens

Anger and sorrow brought thousands of protesters to Surrey city hall Wednesday evening to protest the ongoing street violence that left two boys dead last week.

Parents, community groups and government officials gathered at the “Wake Up Surrey” rally to support and listen to victims’ families call for government action and appeal to the community to work toward change.

On the evening of June 4, the bodies of 16-year-old Jaskarn (Jason) Singh Jhutty and 17-year-old Jaskaran (Jassi) Singh Bhangal were found by police on the side of the road near 192 Street and 40 Avenue, both having suffered gunshots. The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team believes the shooting was targeted.

Rally organizer Gurpreet Sahota said the boys’ deaths were “a turning point” for the city. The rally was organized to “wake up” society to an escalating crisis, he said.

“Beforehand, we were seeing that the gangsters getting killed are (the) age of 30-plus, and now seeing gang violence close to schools and the kids dying are 16 years old, 17 years old, with no involvement in crime, so what’s next?” he said.

An organization called Save Canadian Kids handed out literature calling for society to shift the blame for gang involvement from parents to the illicit-drug trade. They believe that the drug supply should be regulated in order to stop gang violence.

Another group launched a community initiative, #StandingUpForOurKids, that seeks a “critical intervention” involving police, teachers, mental health workers, parents and students working together.

Friends and family of Jason and Jassi wore shirts emblazoned with the boys’ faces, and carried their photos and signs calling for justice.

Mothers and fathers wept and squeezed their children close as they listened to Mandeep Bhangal, Jassi’s aunt, speak to the crowd.

“I beg all of you guys,” she said.

“Please. It’s hard for the parents, it’s hard for everybody to go through this …read more

Source:: Vancouver Sun

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