Perpetrators of deadly shooting at Delta mall showed signs of inexperience, says criminologist

The likely perpetrators of the fatal shooting outside Scottsdale mall in Delta on Saturday showed signs of inexperience, according to a criminologist who reviewed a witness’ video footage of a getaway operation after gunshots were heard.

Police say they believe the shooting, which killed a prison guard, was targeted.

The incident happened in broad daylight on May 1, in front of many witnesses, some of whom have since shared video footage of the alleged assailants taking off from the crime scene.

One video shows what appears to be a man picking up a gun, running through a parking lot, and vaulting a hedge, before an SUV rolls up.

The man, dressed in black from head to toe, tries the back door handle once, twice, a third time.

Finally, the door opens. He leaps in, with at least one other person visible in the backseat, and the vehicle drives away.

Police later find it burning in Burnaby.

At the other end of the busy shopping mall parking lot, a couple hundred meters away, a different vehicle, riddled with bullet holes, crashes near a gas station at the corner of 72nd Ave and Scott Road.

The driver, 29-year-old Bikramdeep Randhawa, a provincial corrections officer, doesn’t survive.

Delta Police have said little about the suspected motive for Randhawa’s murder, only that the shooting may be a case of mistaken identity, related to something in Randhawa’s personal life, or even connected to his work.

Randhawa was not known to police.

Rob Gordon, a professor of criminology at Simon Fraser University, has watched closely over the last few months as the Lower Mainland gang conflict has heated up, including a shooting last month outside a popular Vancouver waterfront restaurant.

What Gordon finds especially frightening about the shooting at Scottsdale shopping centre Saturday, he says, is both the cavalier conduct of the assailants, and that the victim was a corrections officer.

While it’s not clear exactly how the witness’s video fits into the sequence of events, it appears to show the perpetrator’s inexperience and willingness to take risks, Gordon said, which could put more innocent people in danger.

“This individual tried to get into a vehicle,” Gordon said, “his getaway vehicle, and the door was locked. What’s that telling you?”

“They’re not terribly smart,” he said.

On Monday, B.C. Corrections confirmed in a statement that Randhawa had worked at the Fraser Regional Correctional Centre since 2016, but deferred any further requests to Delta Police “out of respect for his privacy and for the integrity of the ongoing police investigation.”

Gordon has a number of questions about the victim’s work history, including who Randhawa had recent contact with, both among colleagues and inmates.

Prisons are “alive with information,” he said, and investigators will soon have a sense of whether the motive for the shooting has any connection to his occupation, if they don’t already.

“If (his shooting) is related to his work and only his work, then that’s going to have a chilling effect on people working inside the corrections system,” Gordon said, adding it would be “very unusual.”