British Columbia

Shooting death of Surrey father 'not a random event,' sparks calls for heightened security

The shooting of a popular hockey coach and father of two boys who was gunned down in broad daylight over the weekend was targeted, police say

Neighbours say they've lost sense of safety following targeted shooting

Paul Bennett was shot and killed on Saturday afternoon in Surrey, B.C. (Facebook)

UPDATE: IHIT says shooting death of Surrey father was case of mistaken identity

The shooting of a popular hockey coach and father of two boys who was gunned down in broad daylight over the weekend, was targeted, police say.

"This was not a random event," said Surrey RCMP Assistant Commissioner Dwayne McDonald.

Paul Bennett was a 47-year-old father of two who worked as a nurse and volunteered as a minor hockey coach.

Officers said he was not known to police.

"My immediate response was grief … it's one of heartbreak as a father and a member of the community. But that turns quickly to rage, and I am angry that this happens," said McDonald.

"That turns to purpose, and my purpose as the chief of police in Surrey is to ferret out those that are responsible and to bring an end to this violence."

The shooting comes amid already heightened community concern over gun violence in Surrey.

Two teenagers were shot and killed earlier this month, sparking community rallies and calls for more police officers on the ground.

Neighbours said they had lost their sense of safety since the shooting. (Ken Leedham/CBC)

McDonald tried to allay the concerns of Clayton Heights and Surrey residents, saying there is nothing to connect Bennett's shooting to other gun violence in the city.

"The violence we are seeing is specific and directed. These aren't just random acts that are occurring," he said.

That's cold comfort to Bennett's neighbour, Sandy Mangat, who says she and her children have lost all sense of safety since the shooting.

"I have older kids. They didn't even sleep in their rooms last night. They slept in my room," she said. "They were just too scared. They're terrified."

Aventino Sousa said he moved to Clayton Heights from Newton because he wanted to escape the ongoing violence in that neighborhood.

"Not in a million years would I think an event like this could happen to a family like that," he said.

Community calls for more cameras

Mike Bola, the president of the Cloverdale Community Association, said the community is calling for cameras to be installed at every lit intersection in the city, along with problem areas.

"I don't think the cost is that big when we're talking about people's lives," he said.

"The children are scared too — they're like 'what if someone drives by and they start shooting at a house there?' It's a very fearful thought."

Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner said there are currently over 400 cameras installed in Surrey, and that they've already had an impact on ongoing investigations.

She said she would be open to installing more.

"That's certainly something we would look at in terms of wherever we need more cameras," she said.

"Today, I'm doing one of the worst jobs that a mayor could ever do — to offer condolences to a family that has lost their dad, their husband, their son."

The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team, which has taken over the case, is trying to determine a motive in the shooting and is asking anyone with information to come forward.

Read more from CBC British Columbia

With files from Anita Bathe
 

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