Karanpal Bhangu, convenience store shooting victim, laid to rest

Emotions were running high as one of the convenience store workers killed on the job in Edmonton last month was laid to rest on Thursday.

'Had I known, I wouldn't have sent you,' mother says of son who left India to come to Canada

Karanpal Bhangu, 35, killed while working at a Mac's convenience store Dec. 18, was laid to rest on Thursday. He is shown with his son Royce and his wife Kiran in this image from the GoFundMe website. ((gofundme.com))

Emotions were running high as one of the convenience store workers killed on the job in Edmonton last month was laid to rest on Thursday.

Karanpal Bhangu, 35, was working the overnight shift at a Mac's Convenience store at 32nd Avenue and 82nd Street on Dec. 18 when he was shot in an armed robbery.

He died in hospital from a gunshot wound to the stomach. Bhangu left behind his wife Kiran and their young son Royce.

Karanpal's funeral was delayed almost three weeks until his family could arrive from India. His sister and mother arrived in Edmonton the night before the funeral.

Both of them and Kiran were in rough shape during the packed funeral, said Laat Bhinder, who has been supporting the Bhangu family since the shooting and is from the same village in India as Karanpal.

'Unbearable' for mother of victim 

"Very difficult, especially for the mom; it's unbearable. I was there in the room when they were with Karanpal and she was breaking up very badly, and the sister as well.

"[The mother] was saying she sent him in a decent country to earn a living, and she was crying and said, 'Had I known, I wouldn't have sent you.' "

Bhinder was impressed by Kiran's courage during the funeral.

"I think she's a very strong girl; she's handling it well. But mom and sister since they just came here last night, it was very difficult for them in that room to be there."

Kiran's mother and sister, meanwhile, could not attend the funeral because they were denied visas.

Gurpreet Gill, the family's lawyer trying to bring Kiran's mother and sister to Canada, was taken aback by the visas being refused.

"This is simply a stereotype letter, which they have just as a checklist — they have gone through it without considering the compassion.

"It's very unfortunate, it's very unfair for an immigration officer to refuse the visa, which shouldn't have happened."

Gill added it's essential that the two women should have been allowed to enter Canada.

Relationship with mother vital

"This is a very, very genuine reason: For a mom and sister to travel to give comfort to the family because there are certain rituals which you have to perform at funerals, and mom is the very, very closest relationship with the wife."

Gill says he wants to appeal the visa decision so Kiran's mother and sister can come to Edmonton to comfort the grieving widow and her son.

Karanpal's cousin ,Azambir Singh Hundal, who lives in Edmonton and attended the funeral, was in India when he heard the news.

He visited Karanpal's family home in India to be with his parents. Karanpal's father, he said,  was too devastated to attend the funeral.

"They cannot fill this loss — nobody can," Hundal said.

"When I heard the news, I just ran to his house . . . we are very sorry for his family."

Other victim's funeral held last month

Ricky Massin Cenabre, 41, another Mac's employee, was also killed that  Dec. 18 morning while he was working at the store at 109th Street and 61st Avenue.

Cenabre's funeral was held on Dec. 29.

Laylin Delorme, 24, Colton Steinhauer, 27, and a 13-year-old boy who cannot be named are each charged with two counts of first-degree murder, robbery with a prohibited restricted firearm, being disguised with intent and other offences.