Two men have been arrested and charged over the targeted killing of Ripudaman Singh Malik in Canada.
Malik, the 75-year-old Canadian Sikh man who was acquitted in the 1985 Air India bombings, was shot dead on July 14 while inside his vehicle in Surrey, British Columbia.
Canadian police have arrested and charged Tanner Fox, 21, and Jose Lopez, 23, with the first-degree murder of Malik, the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) said in a news release on Wednesday.
The homicide squad along with the Surrey Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Integrated Forensic Identification Section and the B.C. Coroners Service were able to gather the evidence that has led to the arrests, according to Superintendent Mandeep Mooker, a spokesperson for the IHIT.
The suspects were reportedly arrested in their homes in Abbotsford and New Westminster on Tuesday.
“Through conventional investigative techniques and amazing police work, we were able to identify and arrest two suspects in relation to this homicide. Both of these individuals are known to police,” Mooker said.
Both suspects have previous criminal records, according to court documents.
Fox was convicted of assault in relation to a November 2019 stabbing in Abbotsford. He was sentenced to 119 days in jail. The 21-year-old was also convicted in April for resisting or obstructing a peace officer in December 2021. Fox is scheduled to appear in court in September for another aggravated assault charge related to an alleged April 8 offense in New Westminster.
Lopez was previously found guilty of assault causing bodily harm for a 2018 incident in Abbotsford. The 23-year-old was also charged in Kelowna last summer with nine criminal counts, including possession of a firearm with ammunition, violating a court order to possess firearms and resisting arrest.
The two men remain in custody and are scheduled for a bail hearing on Aug. 10.
While the motive of the suspects remains unknown, Jaspreet, Malik’s son, said he believes that there is no connection between the Air India bombings and the murder of his father.
“No matter where the investigation goes and no matter how these charges turn out, we have lost a great man,” Jaspreet told Tribune India. “We are glad the IHIT team has made progress and we support the work they’re doing. At the same time, we are saddened that these two young men made such poor life choices. We trust the justice system to deal with them properly and fairly.”
Malik and co-accused Ajaib Singh Bagri were acquitted of murder and conspiracy charges in 2005 after being accused of the 1985 Air India terror attack that killed 331 people.
Malik first emigrated to Canada from India in 1972 and reportedly became an influential member of British Columbia’s Sikh separatist movement. Malik served as the chairman of Khalsa School and was also the president of the Khalsa Credit Union in Surrey.