Surrey's 1st homicide victim of the year identified, suspect charged

A 39-year-old man has been identified as the victim of Surrey's first homicide of the year.

Jason Stanley Wells was found dead outside a strip mall at 75A Avenue and Scott Road, just before 1 a.m. on Thursday. 

Police say a fight broke out in the parking lot of the mall. A witness saw the suspect flee and helped police find him moments after the incident took place. 

Officers also found what they believe was the murder weapon. 

A 2nd-degree murder charge has been approved against Michael James Petronio, 33. He is set to appear in Surrey Provincial Court Friday afternoon. 

Police are asking anyone who may have known the victim to contact them. 

"Our attention must turn now to the victim, his family, and his friends and associates," said IHIT's Const. Harrison Mohr in a news release.  

"Our thoughts are with those who knew him, and we are asking them to come forward and talk to us."

Integrated Homicide Investigators

Homicide investigators had previously said the suspect was not believed to have ties to gangs or drug trafficking.