IHIT identifies 30-year-old as Surrey taxi shooting victim

·2 min read
Police identified 30-year-old David Chavez-Jara was fatally shot in a taxi at the Guildford area of Surrey, B.C. on Aug. 9. (Submitted by the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) - image credit)
Police identified 30-year-old David Chavez-Jara was fatally shot in a taxi at the Guildford area of Surrey, B.C. on Aug. 9. (Submitted by the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) - image credit)

The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) has named the passenger who was fatally shot in a taxi at the Guildford area of Surrey, B.C., during an incident on Aug. 9, which also seriously injured the cab driver.

Police identified 30-year-old David Chavez-Jara as the targeted shooting victim, who died on scene in the 14800 block of 108 Avenue at a strip mall in front of a Church's Chicken.

Chavez-Jara was known to police and has been recently convicted of drug trafficking. Police say they identified him in order to aid the investigation.

"Investigators believe Mr. Chavez-Jara was the target of this senseless act," said Sgt. Timothy Pierotti of IHIT.

"IHIT is committed to working with our law enforcement partners as well as partners in the community to find those responsible and hold them accountable before they can hurt others."

Casey Warcup was working at the back of her family's restaurant, Scott's Landing, at the strip mall when the shooting occurred. She recalls finding out about the incident after a neighbouring business called.

"You don't want that for business obviously," said Warcup. "It's a scary thought, with it just happening so close to you."

Taxi driver in stable condition

The driver of the taxi was transported to hospital with serious injuries as Chavez-Jara was pronounced dead on scene.

Newton-Whalley Taxi Hi-Way Taxi Ltd. confirmed the driver is their employee. The cab company told CBC News he is stable in hospital and not in any risk of death.

"Such daylight shootings in commercial vehicles are never acceptable since they pose a major risk to both our drivers and the customers," said Gurminder Singh, general manager of the Newton-Whalley Taxi, in a statement.

"We are considering every aspect of driver and public safety and requesting everyone to be patient as this investigation is under process."

Mohan Kang, president of the B.C. Taxi Association, says the shooting has prompted concerns about the safety of taxi driver operators.

"The way things are happening in Metro Vancouver — it is too close for comfort that [gang-related shootings] are moving into the busy area and there is no regard for the safety of anybody," he told CBC News.

Kang cites the Taxi Bill of Rights, which allows drivers the right to refuse service for safety reasons.

"But mainly that was for people who were drunk and abusive and not this type of thing," said Kang.

"They're professionals," he added. "They simply can't say, 'I can pick and choose' because of the concern with discrimination."