2 men charged with 1st-degree murder in shooting death of Ripudaman Singh Malik

·3 min read
Ripudaman Singh Malik, centre, leaves B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver with his supporters on March 16, 2005, after he was found not guilty in the bombing of an Air India flight in 1985. Malik was shot dead on the morning of July 14. (Richard Lam/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Ripudaman Singh Malik, centre, leaves B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver with his supporters on March 16, 2005, after he was found not guilty in the bombing of an Air India flight in 1985. Malik was shot dead on the morning of July 14. (Richard Lam/The Canadian Press - image credit)

Two men have been charged with first-degree murder in the targeted killing of Ripudaman Singh Malik, who was acquitted in the 1985 Air India bombings and shot dead on July 14 in Surrey, B.C.

The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) said in a news release Wednesday the charges have been laid against Tanner Fox, 21, and Jose Lopez, 23.

Malik, 75, was shot several times on the morning of July 14 outside his family business, Papillon Eastern Imports, on 128 Street in Surrey.

In an update Wednesday afternoon, IHIT said the two suspects were arrested in their homes in Abbotsford and New Westminister without incident.

Supt. Mandeep Mooker said the homicide squad worked with Surrey RCMP, the Integrated Forensic Identification Section and the B.C. Coroners Service to gather the evidence that led to the arrests.

He said the investigation was also supported by police departments in New Westminster and Abbotsford and the Lower Mainland Integrated Emergency Response Team.

With the matter now before the courts, he said IHIT would not be providing any further details.

Family still in shock

Jaspreet Malik, Ripudaman Singh Malik's son, said no one in his family had heard the names of the men accused before. His family is at a loss to understand why someone would kill his father.

"My father was 75 years old," he said. "He was not a young person. He was healthy. He was doing well. But I mean, it doesn't make sense."

The police have not spoken to him about motive, and he said he still believes there is no connection between the Air India bombings and his father's death.

"What I infer from the police telling me there is an ongoing investigation is that there's something more there,'' he said.

"And it may always be an incomplete story," he added. "I trust in the police to do their job."

Malik says he hopes his family will eventually get answers about his father's death.

"It doesn't help our family to guess. "No amount of anything is going to bring my father back.''

Suspects had previous run-ins with the law

Abbotsford Police Department
Abbotsford Police Department

Court documents show the two accused had previous criminal records.

Lopez was found guilty of assault causing bodily harm for a 2018 incident in Abbotsford.

He was charged with seven firearms offences, plus wilfully resisting an officer and uttering threats for an incident in July
2021 in Kelowna.

Fox's convictions include assault causing bodily harm and robbery for separate incidents in 2019 in Abbotsford.

He's also accused of wilfully resisting or obstructing a peace officer in December 2021.

Fox is scheduled to appear in court in September on an assault charge for an alleged April 8 offence in New Westminster.

The BC Prosecution Service says Fox and Lopez appeared in Surrey provincial court Wednesday, and the matter was adjourned until Aug. 10, when a bail hearing is scheduled.

Malik acquitted in 2005

Malik and co-accused Ajaib Singh Bagri were acquitted in 2005 of mass murder and conspiracy charges related to a pair of bombings targeting Air India flights that killed 331 people, mainly from the Toronto and Vancouver areas.

In recent years, Malik served as chairman of Khalsa School and managed two of the private schools' campuses in Surrey and Vancouver. He was also president of the Surrey-based Khalsa Credit Union, which has more than 16,000 members.

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