Two people arrested in murder of Ripudaman Singh Malik

THE CANADIAN PRESS

SURREY, B.C. – Two men have been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Ripudaman Singh Malik.

Malik, the man acquitted in 2005 for bombings aimed at Air India jets that killed 331 people, was shot in his vehicle outside his business in Surrey, B.C., on July 14.

Tanner Fox, 21, and Jose Lopez, 23, have been charged.

Police gave few details about their investigation during a news conference Wednesday.

In answer to questions about possible motive or whether there was any relationship between the alleged killers and the victim, officers said the investigation was ongoing.

They had a similar response when asked if they believed anyone else was involved or if other suspects were at large.

“We’re going to follow the evidence and wherever that evidence leads us is where we’ll go next,” IHIT Supt. Mandeep Mooker said.

Fox was arrested in Abbotsford, while Lopez was arrested in New Westminster on Tuesday, he said. A news release later said they were arrested at their homes.

Police have previously saida vehicle with people inside had waited for hours that morning before Malik, 75, showed up and he was shot at about 9:30 a.m.

The same vehicle, a white Honda CRV, was found burned not far from the scene of the shooting.

Police released a photo and video of the car driving through a strip-mall parking lot, but didn’t specify the number of people in the vehicle, saying they did not want to “taint” potential witnesses.

An employee who works at a nearby car wash said he heard shots on the morning Malik was killed and ran outside to find him unconscious in his red Tesla.

Malik and his co-accused, Ajaib Singh Bagri, were found not guilty of murder and conspiracy in the Air India bombings on June 23, 1985.

One bomb was on an Air India jet that crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Ireland, killing all 329 passengers and crew.

About an hour later, a bomb destined for another Air India plane exploded prematurely at Tokyo’s Narita Airport, where two baggage handlers died.

Court documents show both Fox and Lopez had previous criminal records.

Lopez was found guilty of assault causing bodily harm for a 2018 incident in Abbotsford.

He was charged with seven firearms offences plus wilfully resisting an officer and uttering threats for an incident in July 2021 in Kelowna.

Fox’s convictions include assault causing bodily harm, and robbery for separate incidents in 2019 in Abbotsford.

He’s also accused of wilfully resisting or obstructing a peace officer in December 2021.

Fox is scheduled to appear in court in September on an assault charge for an alleged April 8 offence in New Westminster.

The BC Prosecution Service says Fox and Lopez appeared in Surrey provincial court Wednesday and the matter was adjourned until Aug. 10, when a bail hearing is scheduled.