Two men have been arrested and charged in the shooting death of Ripudaman Singh Malik in Surrey.
Tanner Fox, 21, and Jose Lopez, 23, have been charged with first-degree murder, the Integrated Homicide Investigative Team (IHIT) announced Wednesday (July 27).
Both are from the Lower Mainland and are known to police, IHIT confirmed at a press conference Wednesday afternoon. Fox is from Abbotsford and Lopez is from New Westminster. Both were arrested in their homes, “without incident,” IHIT said.
Supt. Mandeep Mooker, IHIT’s officer in charge, told media Wednesday he could not disclose what evidence led to their arrests, as the matter is now before the courts and the investigation is still open.
Mooker also wouldn’t answer questions about the possibility of more suspects who may have hired the pair.
Malik, 75, was shot and killed outside a business complex at 8236 128 Street in Newton on July 14. A white Honda CR-V, which was captured on CCTV hours before the shooting, was later found burning in the 12200 block of 82 Avenue.
Malik was acquitted in 2005 of the 1985 Air India Bombing following a lengthy trial in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver. He was found not guilty of eight criminal counts, including bomb-related and first-degree murder charges.
His family and supporters declined to comment at the courthouse after the trial but posted a statement at NotGuilty.org saying that “with the grace of God” justice had prevailed.
“Our family deeply sympathizes with the families of those that died in this horrific tragedy,” it stated. “The anger and sadness that the families are going through because of today’s decision should be directed towards the RCMP and Crown. They had given these families a false hope of justice by proceeding with a case without merit.”
Surrey-based Khalsa Credit Union, of which Malik is a founder, issued a press statement at the time on behalf of its directors saying they were “very pleased” with the verdict.
“I believed Mr. Malik was innocent and the decision bears out my faith in the justice system,” Karnail Singh Manhas, the credit union’s corporate secretary stated in 2005. “It will be very good to see Mr. Malik working in the community again.”
The only man held accountable for the Air India bombing was Inderjit Singh Reyat, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in February 2003 and was sentenced to five years in prison.
The bombing killed 329 people. Seven Surrey families lost loved ones in the Air India explosion off the coast of Ireland.
– With files from Lauren Collins