The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team says a 33-year-old man has been charged with murder after a man was found dead in a Newton strip mall parking lot Thursday (Jan. 2).
It was Surrey’s first homicide of 2020.
Michael James Petronio, 33, is charged with second-degree murder, according to a release from IHIT Friday. He will be appearing at provincial court at 2 p.m. Friday.
IHIT identified the victim as 39-year-old Jason Stanley Wells.
Constable Harrison Mohr, with IHIT, said officer’s attention is now on the victim, his family, friends and associates.
“Our thoughts are with those who knew him, and we are asking them to come forward and talk to us. Our investigators would like to speak with anyone whom had been in recent contact with Jason,” Mohr said.
Just before 1 a.m. on Jan. 2, Surrey RCMP responded to a “fight” in the parking lot of a strip mall at 75A Avenue and Scott Road.
IHIT said when police arrived, the suspect had fled the scene and a deceased man was found in the parking lot.
Multiple people saw the fight, IHIT said, and one of the witnesses was able to follow the suspect from a distance and told police of his location.
“One of the witnesses did a good job of keeping an eye on the suspect from a safe distance after he fled the scene, and was able to direct police to his whereabouts,” Mohr said. “Frontline Surrey RCMP officers responded quickly and arrested the suspect minutes after the altercation, and also located a possible weapon involved in the murder. Their efforts have benefited this investigation immensely.”
Surrey RCMP officers found the Petronio a few blocks away and took him into custody, IHIT said. A weapon “possibly used in the murder” was also found by police.
As of Thursday, IHIT said officers were still trying to determine whether the two men knew each other.
Petronio was charged late Thursday night, IHIT said.
“This success was a combined effort between the people who witnessed the altercation, the Lower Mainland Forensic Identification Services, the Surrey RCMP, and IHIT,” Mohr said.
– with files from Tracy Holmes