Nova Scotia

'We feel very unsafe': Indian-Canadians in shock over Truro killing

Police in Truro, N.S., are now treating a suspicious weekend death as a homicide, the deputy chief said Monday.

Friends fear possible 'hate crime' led to the death of taxi driver Prabhjot Singh Katri

Friends say Prabhjot Singh Katri was trying to build a better life in Canada. Truro, N.S., police have said they are investigating a homicide that happened over the weekend, but have not released any names. (GoFundMe)

Police in Truro, N.S., are now treating a suspicious weekend death as a homicide, the deputy chief said Monday.

Deputy Chief Robert Hearn said a 23-year-old man was found dead at a Robie Street apartment building early Sunday.

"The investigation is ongoing and there is no risk to the general public at this time," Hearn said.

Police did not release the victim's name, nor provide information on any suspects.

The Truro Police Service said they will give an update Tuesday morning.

Victim came to Canada in 2017

Police did not name the victim, but several people CBC News spoke to identified him as Prabhjot Singh Katri, who came to Canada from India in 2017 to study.

Jatinder Kumardeep said Singh was returning to the home he shared with his sister and her husband.

"He's an innocent guy coming back from his job. He drives a taxi," he said.

Friends say Singh was returning to this apartment, which he shared with his sister and her husband, when he was killed. (Submitted by Jatinder Kumardeep)

Kumardeep said he has not slept since his friend died. Kumardeep said there are few international students in Truro, so most get to know each other. They both come from Punjab, India, and so bonded in Nova Scotia.

"We feel very unsafe," he said.

He said the small Indian community in the town tends to keep quiet and stay out of trouble.

"We are also people. Brown people also matter. We are giving our everything to this country," he said. "Why is this happening to us?"

He created an online fundraiser to help send his friend's body home to India, so his parents can put him to rest.

'Nothing was robbed'

Agampal Singh said his friend was a good person. 

"Nothing was robbed. Even his phone was in his pocket," Singh said. "We don't have any idea why this happened."

His friend had no enemies, he said.

"He was a very innocent guy. Never had bad company, never smoked, never drank, he didn't touch drugs. He had only a few friends here," Singh said. "He didn't talk with people he didn't know. I think it might be a hate crime."

He said Singh had completed his studies and was on a work visa and applying for permanent residency in Canada.

"And then this thing happens, which has totally destroyed his family and us also."

Agampal Singh said they trust police will bring justice to their friend.

"We are coming to this country for a good future," he said. "We are not safe. I can't even sleep."