It was shortly after midnight. Radio India manager Maninder Gill and his wife had fallen sound asleep in their bedroom. They were abruptly awaken by a hailstorm of bullets fired at their home in Surrey's Panorama Ridge neighbourhood.
Startled by the loud barrage, Mr. Gill thought someone was firing a machine gun. And then, there was complete silence, he said in an interview Monday. He did not see anything moving. No one was about.
Police arrived at his house 16 minutes later, having received numerous calls of gunshots on the street from neighbours as well as a call from Mr. Gill around 12:30 a.m. Monday. Police later told reporters that around 10 shots were fired at Mr. Gill's house in a drive-by shooting. No one was injured. Police did not take anyone into custody.
The late-night shooting is the latest twist in a series of events involving Mr. Gill, a prominent figure in the region's Indo-Canadian community. Mr. Gill is currently facing aggravated assault and firearms charges after a shooting last month during a wedding at a Sikh temple in Surrey. Also, Radio India, Mr. Gill and others are facing charges of defamation for broadcasts in May.
Constable Peter Neily said yesterday the Panorama Ridge shooting was a targeted incident. "There are no elements of randomness to this shooting," he stated in a news release. He declined to comment in an interview on speculation that the shooting may have been related to the court cases.
The serious crimes section of the RCMP's Surrey detachment is continuing its investigation and he would not want to say anything that could compromise their work, Constable Neily said.
Mr. Gill said in an interview the drive-by shooting had left behind "a big hole" in his living room window and some damage on the exterior of the house.
Although his wife was scared and he feared for his own safety, he has no plans to move or change his life, he said. "I am not going to run from them. I live here."
But he would like police to step up measures to protect him and his family from those he believes are out to kill him.
He has received many threats and has asked for increased police protection. But he has not received as much help as he would like. Police recently installed surveillance cameras at his house, but they refused to accompany him last month when he attended a private wedding, he said.
He has been concerned about his security since late spring, following a broadcast on Radio India about some members of the Indo-Canadian community, Mr. Gill said.
He said he believes he is a target for a group of people involved in attacks on an Indian government minister and B.C. politician Ujjal Dosanjh in the 1980s and the killing of Punjabi publisher Tara Singh Hayer in 1998.
Some community members, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, disagree. They speculate the drive-by shooting may have been organized by others.
Rattan Mall, editor of the Vancouver-based Asian Journal, said in an interview, police should pay closer attention to Punjabi-language radio in the region.
Without commenting specifically on the drive-by shooting or Radio India broadcasts, Mr. Mall said some Punjabi programs report vitriolic personal attacks that ignite passions and cause a lot of problems in the community. "The RCMP should be monitoring them" he said.