The trial began Monday (Oct. 3) for the man charged with the killings of a Surrey gangster and an innocent Abbotsford man.
The proceedings in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver began with Tyrel Nguyen (also known by the surname Quesnelle), 23, pleading not guilty to the Oct. 27, 2017 first-degree murder of Randy Kang, 27, of Surrey and the Nov. 12, 2018 first-degree murder of Jagvir Malhi, 19, of Abbotsford.
Nguyen also pleaded not guilty to the attempted murders of Kang’s brother Gary and the Kangs’ associate, Camilo Alonso, also on Oct. 27, 2017.
Gary was later gunned down – in January 2021 – in South Surrey.
In his opening statements, Crown lawyer Joe Bellows said evidence to be presented at trial includes admissions made by Nguyen to a police agent, who can only be referred to as “AB” due to his name and identifying details being covered by a publication ban.
Bellows said other evidence that ties Nguyen to the crimes includes DNA and fingerprint evidence, video footage, photos and a music video.
Bellows said Nguyen was in the drug business, and the Kang killing resulted after Nguyen and another man, Rohit Kumar, arranged a meeting with the two Kang brothers and Alonso.
Bellows said the five men met on a pathway on Alpen Place in Surrey, and Nguyen and Kumar opened fire.
Randy Kang was killed, and an autopsy later showed he had received about 40 injuries from 13 bullets, Bellows said.
Gary Kang was shot but survived, and Alonso was unscathed.
Bellows said Nguyen later told AB that he and Kumar had been paid $100,000 for the hit.
The lawyer said, in addition to an economic motive for the killing, Nguyen revealed a more personal reason in a music video.
Bellows said the video was a tribute to Gavin Grewal, a former Abbotsford man and leader of the Brothers Keepers gang who was killed in North Vancouver in December 2017.
The video mourned Grewal’s killing and suggested that Kang’s murder was in retaliation, Bellows said.
He said several rented and stolen vehicles and stolen licence plates have been linked to the Kang murder, and CCTV footage from Kumar’s condo building provides additional evidence of the links and the “deliberation and planning” that occurred.
One of the stolen vehicles – a Ford Escape – was set on fire shortly after the killing.
Malhi was killed as he was driving north on Ross Road in Abbotsford on the way to University of the Fraser Valley, where he was a student.
Bellows said Malhi was rear-ended by a vehicle and, when he got out his car to exchange insurance information, he was gunned down.
An autopsy showed that he had suffered 40 injuries from eight bullets, Bellows said.
He said an Acura TL – which CCTV footage showed had been in the area of the killing – was set on fire in Surrey, but a neighbour quickly extinguished the blaze.
Bellows said this resulted in valuable evidence being preserved, including the Smith & Wesson gun that matched the bullets used in the murder, a balaclava that had Nguyen’s DNA on it, fingerprints that matched Nguyen’s on the trunk, and a pair of gloves in the driver’s side door that also had his DNA.
Bellows said Nguyen later showed AB a newspaper article about Malhi’s killing and said Malhi was “the brother of the guy we wanted.” (Police at the time said Malhi was the “unintended victim” of the shooting.)
Bellows said AB will testify that he was present when Nguyen and another man, Joseph Whitlock, talked about how Whitlock’s gun – a Glock 17 – had jammed at the murder scene. Bellows said Whitlock’s DNA was also found on gloves in the Acura.
Bellows said AB was also present when Nguyen and Whitlock picked up and divided the $30,000 they were apparently paid for the killing.
AB became an agent with the RCMP from October to December 2019, when Nguyen was living in Edmonton, Bellows said. AB’s work with investigators included having written discussions on a white board at Nguyen’s residence while hidden cameras taped them.
Bellows said, in those discussions, Nguyen made “clear admissions” to the murders of Kang and Malhi.
Nguyen was arrested and charged in December 2019. The trial continues and is scheduled to last 77 days.