Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner wants to use civil forfeiture laws to recover health care costs from uncooperative witnesses who've been shot.

Drug war gun violence continues

Surrey mayor wants to recover health care costs from uncooperative victims

Four men were injured in three separate shootings over the weekend, two of which are linked to a turf war over a dial-a-dope operation, police say, which has accounted for 18 shootings since March.

(There have been 36 shootings since that time, though police say they aren’t all linked to the drug turf war).

In response to the spate of gun violence, Surrey’s mayor wants to change legislation allowing courts to recover health care costs from uncooperative victims.

The recent series of shootings started on Monday, June 8, when Surrey RCMP responded to gunfire outside a Surrey restaurant at 72 Avenue and Scott Road. Police believe that incident is linked to the ongoing drug war.

Some of the businesses in the area believed to have video surveillance, but are not co-operating with police, so warrants are required to obtain the evidence.

Police would not identify those businesses.

Then on Friday, June 13, two men were shot at a home in the 5700-block of 152 Street. While the home is known to police, the shooting is not believed to be linked to the turf war.

The next day, two more men were injured in gunfire that erupted in the 18600-block of Highway 10.

Both men suffered non-life threatening injuries.

That shooting is believed to be connected to the turf war over the dial-a-dope operation.

Police say that for a long time, one group had a stronghold on a large area of the dial-for-drugs business.

Since March, a new group has tried to hone in on the business, sparking the violence.

The gun violence brings to 18 the number of shooting incidents related to the drug war since March.

Police are still looking for the silver Pontiac Vibe last seen fleeing from the area westbound on Highway 10 immediately after the shooting on Saturday.  Police have seized the light-coloured SUV thought to be connected to the shooting and are obtaining a warrant to gather evidence from inside.

Ravinder Samra, 20, was a victim of a shooting early in this ongoing conflict, and was shot again on Saturday night.

Samra remains extremely uncooperative with police, which Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner says is extremely frustrating.

She wants changes to B.C.’s civil forfeiture legislation, making it possible for the government to seize assets of uncooperative people to pay for their hospital care.

“Is there any opportunity under the Civil Forfeiture Act to change it, that they can pay back, to you and to me, the costs of their unnecessary care given what’s going on right now?” Hepner said. “They should be paying back the costs, or their families should be paying back the costs.”

Despite the shootings, Hepner stands by her ongoing claim that Surrey is a safe city.

“I consider this city safe, but I consider this issue top of mind for every politician and police officer,” Hepner said. “I’m going to stick with my ‘safe city,’ but a safe city in desperate need of solving this intolerable issue.”

Anyone with information on any of the shootings is asked to call  special tip line at 604-915-6566 or, if you wish to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.