1 dead and 3 in custody after assault outside Abbotsford mall

A homicide investigation is underway in Abbotsford, B.C., after an assault outside a local mall.

One man is dead and police are now looking for witnesses to come forward.

Abbotsford police were called to Seven Oaks Mall on South Fraser Way at 10:30 p.m. Wednesday night after reports of an assault.

“Upon arrival, officers located a man suffering from serious life-threatening injuries,” said Const. Paul Walker, of the Abbotsford Police Department, in a news release early Thursday morning.

First responders assisted the victim before rushing him to the hospital, but he did not survive.

The Abbotsford Police Major Crime Unit then handed the investigation over to the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team.

The victim has been identified, but police say his name is not being released pending next of kin notification.

“The victim is 41 years old and from Abbotsford with no connection to gangs,” IHIT's Sgt. David Lee said in a news release late Thursday morning.

Abbotsford police officers with the assistance of the Lower Mainland Police Dog Service tracked down three suspects.

One adult and two youths were taken into custody.

“This is believed to be an isolated incident,” Lee said.

Officers could be seen scouring the area for evidence with flashlights early Thursday morning and most of the parking lots surrounding the mall were put behind police tape.

It appears the assault happened outside the Shoppers Drug Mart on the north side of the mall.

Investigators laid down evidence markers next to what appeared to be a pile of clothes and other belongings.

“Although arrests have been made, we are still searching for key evidence, and priority tasks are being completed," Lee said.

IHIT says it’s now working in partnership with APD’s Forensic Identification Section and the BC Coroners Service

“Statements are being taken and the forensic examination continues. The investigation is still in its early stages and a timeline of events is being constructed,” wrote Lee.

The mall parking lot was closed for several hours, but the crime scene was cleared in time for its scheduled opening Thursday morning.

"The scene is secured. There is no additional risk to the public," IHIT Tweeted Thursday morning.

IHIT is looking for dashcam footage or CCTV from the area around 8:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Wednesday night.

Anyone with video or information is asked to call the IHIT Infoline at 1-877-551-IHIT (4448) or by email at ihitinfo@rcmp-grc.gc.ca.