An Abbotsford man who was allegedly involved in a gunfight last August has been denied bail, with the judge saying he appears to be “entrenched in a gangs-and-guns lifestyle.”
Judge Gregory Brown said recently in Abbotsford provincial court that there is a strong case to prove that Amritpal Saran, 22, was the first to fire at gang rivals on Aug. 29, 2020.
On that day just before 10 p.m., police received reports that several shots had been fired in the 33800 block of Mayfair Avenue in Abbotsford.
According to court documents, Saran told police that he and his girlfriend were in a Volkswagen Jetta in his driveway when three or four occupants of a Ford F-150 pickup truck fired shots at them, hitting the car and the house.
Saran ran to the backyard of his home, and the girlfriend, who was in the driver’s seat, told police that she drove the Jetta into the truck and even temporarily drove after the pickup, but returned shortly afterwards, court documents state. Nobody was injured.
The Abbotsford Police Department (APD) reported on Dec. 10 that Saran had been arrested and charged with unlawfully discharging a firearm, possessing a firearm without a licence, and storage of a firearm contrary to regulation.
Judge Brown wrote in his bail decision that video evidence allegedly showed that as a pickup truck pulled up to his home on Aug. 29, Saran jumped out of the passenger seat of the Jetta.
“Mr. Saran continually shot at the truck for about three seconds and the occupants of the truck then shot back … The video clearly depicts a gunfight in this residential neighbourhood and Mr. Saran was the first shooter,” Brown wrote.
He said evidence found in the Saran home included a Dagger semi-automatic shotgun, a banana-style magazine with nine Winchester 12-gauge shotgun shells, an ammunition box with 10 223-calibre rifle rounds, and another box with 32 9mm rounds.
Brown said also found in the house were boxes of various other ammunition, a taser rod, a firearm stock and a Glock pistol magazine with nine 9mm rounds.
The judge said 9mm rounds were also found in the back of the Jetta, and the Crown’s theory is that they are consistent with the handgun that can be seen allegedly being used by Saran in the video.
That gun was never located by police, but the Crown’s theory is that Saran hid it in the backyard and it was later retrieved by an associate, Brown stated.
The judge said the Jetta was searched and contained six spent bullets, 9mm Luger casings and bullet fragments. A tracking device had also been placed on the vehicle.
Brown said the APD’s gang crime unit had identified Saran as a “public safety risk” and that he is allegedly known to carry a firearm. In 2019, Saran supposedly indicated that he was being targeted by rival gang members, but he did not take advantage of any exit options offered by police.
Saran, who has no prior criminal record, sought to be released from custody on $10,000 cash or a $50,000 surety and with stringent conditions that included a tight curfew, living at home with his parents, and not associating with known criminals.
But the judge agreed with the Crown that Saran should be detained due to the “gravity of the offence.” Brown referenced past gang violence in Abbotsford, saying that “sometimes innocent people are injured or killed in the crossfire.”
Brown said it would be a mistake to send Saran back to the home where the shooting occurred and where his family appears “ill-equipped to control his behaviour.”
“The offences involve a wanton disregard of the safety of others in the community; this gunfire occurred in a residential neighbourhood on a summer’s evening when many other persons could have been out and about,” the judge wrote.
No arrests or charges have been made of the other parties involved in the gunfight.