Minor hockey coach identified as victim of Surrey shooting

Shooting death of Surrey father 'not a random event,' sparks calls for heightened security

A man killed in a shooting late Saturday afternoon in Surrey, B.C., has been identified as father, husband, nurse and minor hockey coach Paul Bennett. 

Marty Jones, president of the Cloverdale Minor Hockey Association, said Bennett was dedicated to the kids he coached.

"It was clear just what kind of guy he was," Jones said. "He made kids smile and laugh and really love the game of hockey."

Jones said Bennett, 47, was the father of "two amazing young boys" and worked as a nurse. 

"He was really just one of the most selfless men that I've had the privilege to be around in the hockey community," Jones said. "Paul cared."

Homicide detectives in the city are still investigating the shooting. RCMP were called to the 18200-block of 67A Avenue, a quiet residential suburb in Cloverdale, for a report of shots fired Saturday around 4 p.m.

They found Bennett suffering from gunshot wounds near a home in the area. He was taken to hospital but later died.

Cpl. Frank Jang with the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) said Bennett was not known to police. 

He added the incident does not appear to be random and no suspects have been arrested.

"We are releasing Mr. Bennett's name in an effort to determine his activities and who he may have had contact with leading up to the shooting," Jang said in a written statement. 

Anyone with information on the victim is asked to contact IHIT or Crime Stoppers.

'Passionate advocate for patients'

Fraser Health confirmed that Bennett worked as a nurse in the operating room at Peace Arch Hospital. 

"He was a passionate advocate for patients and patient care," the health authority said in a written statement. 

"Staff at our hospital are shocked and deeply saddened."

Neighbours in the quiet cul-de-sac where Bennett lived say they were shocked to hear about the shooting. 

"It shakes up a community to see something like this happen," said Caleb Branscombe, on his way to church Sunday morning. "We're all going to be praying for the family ... It's heartbreaking."

Gurpreet Singh Sahota, newspaper editor and organizer of anti-gang advocacy group Wake Up Surrey, called for more police officers in the city.

"It's time to wake up and make accountable our politicians, our police system and every other stakeholder," he said. "We have to come out and break the code of silence."

With files from GP Mendoza and Zahra Premji

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