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Surrey youths arrested in relation to shooting at Sikh activist's house

Bullet holes are pictured in a car outside a Surrey residence targeted by gunfire last week. Police say they have arrested two 16-year-olds in relation to the case. (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)
Bullet holes are pictured in a car outside a Surrey residence targeted by gunfire last week. Police say they have arrested two 16-year-olds in relation to the case. (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)

Surrey RCMP say they have arrested two 16-year-olds in relation to an investigation into a shooting last week at the home of a Sikh activist.

In a news release, police say they arrested the two youths for careless use of a firearm and discharge of a firearm after searching a home in the 7700 block of 140th St.

But the two minors have been released pending the laying of any charges.

Motive still to be determined

In the hours following the early morning shooting on Feb. 1, a spokesperson for the B.C. Gurdwaras Council suggested homeowner Simranjeet Singh's connection to slain activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar might have played a part in the shooting.

Nijjar was a loud voice for the Khalistan cause, a separatist movement that seeks to create a Sikh majority state in parts of northern India.

Bullet holes are pictured at a home near 2800-block of154th street in Surrey, British Columbia on Thursday, February 1, 2024.
Bullet holes are pictured at a home near 2800-block of154th street in Surrey, British Columbia on Thursday, February 1, 2024.

Associates of the homeowner suggested that his friendship with a slain Sikh activist may have played a role in the shooting. But police say they have not determined the motive yet. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

He was killed last year in a shooting in Surrey that the federal government believes was carried out by agents of the Indian government. For its part, the government of India has denied any role in Nijjar's death.

The shooting at Simranjeet Singh's house came a few days after Singh helped organize a pro-Khalistan protest at the Indian consulate in Vancouver

But RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Sarbjit Sangha said police have yet to determine the motive behind the shooting.

She told the CBC police seized three firearms and multiple electronic devices after obtaining a search warrant for the home where the youths were arrested.

Sangha said police will examine the contents of the devices and test the firearms to determine what lay behind the shooting at Simranjeet Singh's home.

Despite their release, Sangha said charges against the youths may follow after police have completed their investigation and made their recommendations to Crown prosecutors.