Friends and family held a memorial for Ripudaman Singh Malik in Surrey, B.C. Saturday morning, two days after the 75-year-old was shot multiple times in what police suspect was a targeted killing.
Malik was a prominent, polarizing figure in the Sikh community and an influential businessman.
In 2005, he and his co-accused, Ajaib Singh Bagri were acquitted on charges of conspiracy and mass murder in connection to the 1985 Air India bombings that killed 331 people, many of whom were from Vancouver and Toronto.
Malik's son, Jaspreet Singh Malik, told CBC News on Friday he doesn't believe his father's death has anything to do with his ties to the Air India case.
"It takes a lot of energy to hate," he said. "And to hate someone for 17 or more years and then to act on hate — I just can't imagine someone like that in the world actually exists.
"I think this must have some other cause or motive," he added. "I just can't see the two things being related."
Malik organized the memorial at the Khalsa School Newton in Surrey, where tribute ceremonies will be held throughout the week.
In a Facebook post on Thursday, Malik said his father "dedicated his life to promoting Guru Nanak Dev Ji's teachings including those of love, honesty and ... the betterment of all humanity."
Death drew mixed reactions
In recent years, Malik served as chairman with Khalsa School, and managed two of the private school's campuses in Surrey and Vancouver. He was also president of the Vancouver-based Khalsa Credit Union, which has more than 16,000 members.
His death drew mixed reactions on Thursday. Some said the community had lost a respected advocate, while people who lost loved ones in the Air India bombings say his death has opened old wounds.
"I was surprised when I heard the news. It just brings back and triggers all the memories of the last 37 years and the pains and the failures of the last 37 years," said Deepak Khandelwal, an executive with the Air India Victim's Families Association who lost two sisters in the bombings.
"There are so many people who have been touched by this tragedy," said Nishi Tampi, whose mother was killed in the Air India bombings.
"And there's been no justice for their loved ones — for our loved ones — and no closure with the investigations."
On Friday, police released security footage of a white Honda CR-V that appeared to be waiting for Malik outside his business, Papillon Eastern Imports, located at 8236 128 Street in Surrey.
IHIT said the vehicle parked around 7 a.m. PT and waited there for more than an hour. At around 9:27 a.m., Malik was shot "several times."
The RCMP's homicide investigation team is handling the case and asking potential witnesses or anyone with information related to the shooting to come forward.
Malik said he hopes the RCMP investigation can shed some light on the motive behind his father's killing.
"You can't even imagine something like that ever happening in your life," he said. "A family member getting shot — let alone your dad getting shot."