Dismissing a report by The Washington Post that claimed there was a delay in the initial response to the fatal shooting of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, the Surrey RCMP said its officers reached the scene within four minutes of the incident. The article published this week also mentions that at least six men and two vehicles were involved in the killing of Hardeep Nijjar outside Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Surrey. The article also mentions witness accounts, suggesting “a larger and more organized operation than has previously been reported.” The witnesses, according to the publication, alleged that police were slow to the scene, and disagreement between agencies caused further delays.
SURREY: Surrey RCMP has issued a public statement rejecting the Washington Post’s claims of RCMP’s delayed response after Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s murder on June 18, 2023.
The police said that the published article contained “inaccurate information on the police response to this homicide” and it was important “to correct misinformation surrounding the actions of our officers, in their initial response and while on scene at the homicide of Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Surrey on June 18, 2023.”
A Washington Post investigative article published on September 25 this week, carried detailed description of Surrey Gurdwara President Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s killing in June. The article carried accounts of Sikh community members present in the vicinity of the attack and a description of Nijjar’s killing captured by a gurdwara security camera.
In that article, Washington Post cites “members of the local Sikh community,” who alleged “police were slow to the scene, and disagreement between agencies caused further delay.”
“There was an hours-long tussle between Surrey police and the RCMP. They couldn’t decide who would head the investigation, so there was a delay,” The Washington Post quoted a gurdwara volunteer.
The assertions were denied in a statement released Tuesday by Surrey RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Vanessa Munn. Without naming the publication, Munn said, “On Saturday, September 23, 2023, Surrey RCMP received a request from an international media outlet which contained a list of questions directed at multiple police agencies with a deadline the following day. This did not provide an adequate opportunity to respond. Subsequently, a story was published which contained inaccurate information on the police response to this homicide.”
Ensuring that accurate information is being reported on the homicide of Nijjar, Munn said, “The first 911 call in relation to this incident was received at 8:27 p.m. and the first officers arrived on scene in under four minutes, with more officers arriving on scene shortly after.”
It was suggested that there was a conflict regarding which police agency would “head the investigation”, however, Munn said, as the police of jurisdiction, Surrey RCMP is responsible for all police investigations in Surrey. “There is nothing to indicate this investigation was delayed in any way, either in the initial response or in subsequent investigative steps.”
The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) was called out and assumed conduct of the investigation with the continued support of Surrey RCMP. She informed, “IHIT takes lead on all homicide investigations in the Lower Mainland with the exception of Delta and Vancouver. We are confident all necessary investigational steps are being taken to hold those responsible for the homicide accountable.”
Anyone with further information who has not already spoken to police is asked to contact the IHIT Information line at 1-877-551-IHIT (4448) or email at [email protected].
While condemning the incident, she said, “This was a public act of violence which has caused members of our community to feel unsafe. In response to community concerns, Surrey RCMP has increased patrols around Gurdwaras and Temples. Surrey RCMP’s Diversity Unit has met with the Sikh and Hindu communities in Surrey and the unit continues to work closely with them to foster communication and engagement.”
The Washington Post article also mentions that a 90-second recording of the video reviewed by The Post begins with Nijjar’s gray pickup truck pulling out of a parking space. A white sedan appears in an adjacent lot, pulls up and drives parallel to the truck.
The Washington Post states, “The vehicles are initially separated by a walkway. When the truck speeds up, the sedan matches its pace. Then the truck merges into the sedan’s lane and for a moment they’re side-by-side. As the vehicles approach the parking lot exit, the sedan pulls in front and brakes to block the truck. Two men in hooded sweatshirts emerge from under a covered waiting area and move toward the truck. Each points a firearm at the driver’s seat. The sedan exits the parking lot and drives out of view. Then the two men run in the same direction.”
The article mentions community members say “investigators have told them that the assailants fired about 50 bullets. Thirty-four hit Nijjar.”
In a bombshell announcement, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told Canada’s House of Commons last week that authorities were pursuing “credible allegations” that agents of the Indian government were involved in the killing. The allegations were based in part on information gathered by one of Canada’s partners in the intelligence-sharing Five Eyes alliance.