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Man killed in Vancouver drive-by shooting had Richmond links

The Vancouver man who was gunned down early Wednesday morning has a history of close calls and criminality in Richmond.

Ranjit Singh Cheema was just 27 and well known to police when he was shot multiple times in the chest and stomach in August of 1995 by masked gunmen in the parking lot outside Zodiac Karaoke Restaurant on Alexandra Road.

Cheema had been in the restaurant with friends, and had come out a lone, when he was gunned down, yet he managed to flee back inside the restaurant and sought refuge in a washroom.

He was placed under strict round-the-clock police security at the time as he recovered in hospital and Richmond Mounties tried to track down his shooters.

"It looks like they were making a drug deal," Zodiac manager Dennis Yip told The Review at the time. Police were seen examining some fine white powder between where the victim's car—a black Nissan 300 ZX—was parked and the restaurant.

Cheema underwent surgery, and eventually recovered from his injuries.

In September of 2008, Cheema was sentenced to five years in prison for conspiring to smuggle 200 kilograms of heroin from Pakistan to North America in 1998.

Cheema became Vancouver's fourth homicide when he was gunned down around 9 a.m. Wednesday on the 1100 block of East 61st Ave. in Vancouver in what Vancouver Police described as a drive-by shooting.

—with files from Black Press

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