UPDATE: IHIT has identified the body found Thursday afternoon in South Surrey as 24-year-old Amin Vinepal. Police say Vinepal, a Delta resident, was known to police and associated with gang activity, according to a news release issued by IHIT at approximately 11:30 a.m. Friday.
“IHIT is releasing Mr. Vinepal’s name in an effort to determine his activities and who he may have had contact with prior to his death. Investigators believe Mr. Vinepal’s murder was targeted and linked to other gang violence in the Lower Mainland.”
Police investigating the death of a man found on 12 Avenue in South Surrey Thursday afternoon want to speak with social-media “tipsters” who reported hearing gunshots in the area.
“We need to find out who these tipsters are, it’s vital to the investigation,” Cpl. Frank Jang of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team told reporters late Thursday, in an interview outside of the Surrey RCMP detachment.
“I’m asking those people who may have heard or seen anything suspicious in that area… you need to please come forward and speak with us.”
Surrey RCMP were alerted to a body in the 18700-block of 12 Avenue around 3:30 p.m. April 26. A witness at the scene described seeing a body “covered in a white sheet” in the middle of the road.
Shortly after, a report of a vehicle burning on 28 Avenue, between 184 and 188 streets, just east of East Kensington Elementary, came in.
Police are on scene investigating two incidents in South Surrey. Please be advised that roads are closed along 12th Ave between 184 and 176 St and along 28th Ave between 184th and 188th St.
— Surrey RCMP (@SurreyRCMP) April 26, 2018
Roads in both areas were immediately cordoned off.
Jang said the man’s death was deemed suspicious, and that police do not believe it was random. As well, police suspect a link between it and the vehicle fire.
“At this point, we believe that the two incidents may be related and our investigators have taken steps to secure both scenes for careful analysis.”
#IHIT is in 17800 block of 12 AVE in south #SurreyBC tonight for report of a suspicious death. #IHIT is working together with @SurreyRCMP to canvass neighbourhood. Appears targeted. Media availability w/ Cpl Frank Jang at front door of Surrey Detachment,14355 57 AVE, at 10PM.
— IHIT (@HomicideTeam) April 27, 2018
Investigators were expected to be at both scenes overnight collecting evidence.
Jang said the vehicle found on 28 Avenue was “burned right down to the frame” and that police will be canvassing the neighbourhood for witnesses and video surveillance that may help identify the people or vehicles involved.
Police will also be reviewing reports of other suspicious activities in the area.
“That’s definitely one of the things that we are going to look into,” Jang said. “We’re going to look into all the previous police files associated to that area. If there are any suspicious vehicles, especially recently, that frequented the area, we’re going to find out about it.”
As of Friday morning, the victim’s identity and cause of death had not been publicly disclosed.
Anyone with information that could help investigators is asked to call the IHIT tip line at 1-877-551-4448 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.