Bullying drove suspect and shooting victim apart, lawyer says

Gunfire erupted Wednesday night at a birthday party being held at the Riverside Banquet Hall, with a lone gunman shooting four men, critically injuring at least one of them. - Martin van den Hemel photo
Gunfire erupted Wednesday night at a birthday party being held at the Riverside Banquet Hall, with a lone gunman shooting four men, critically injuring at least one of them.
— image credit: Martin van den Hemel photo

Teenage bullying that festered over a decade drove his client to shoot one of the men gunned down at the Riverside Banquet Hall last month, according to the suspect’s lawyer.

Danny Markovitz, who is representing Sukhdeep Singh Sandhu, 26, told The Richmond Review that his client is a member of the International Longshore & Warehouse Union, as is the man who Sandhu targeted that night.

Sandhu has been denied bail, and remains in custody, with another appearance slated for Thursday in Richmond provincial court.

According to Markovitz, Sandhu was only intending to shoot one man, but three others were caught in the crossfire.

“They were friends through middle school,” Markovitz said of the two men.

But that relationship soured when Sandhu was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease—an inflammatory condition of the bowel that can lead to persistent diarrhea, among other things—which Markovitz said led the intended target to begin bullying Sandhu.

And although the target and suspect are both members of the Longshore union, they have since their fallout had only indirect contact through a third party, who relayed that Sandhu’s former friend was continuing to say unflattering things about him.

Markovitz said that Sandhu heard through a third party that his former teenage friend was continuing to taunt, humiliate and bully him through his comments.

“(He) may not have been saying some of the things Sandhu was told, but in Sandhu’s mind, he did.”

So on the night of the shooting, on Wednesday, Jan. 16, Sandhu came to the banquet hall, where Sandhu knew many of the 200 people who attended what was a birthday party and a celebration for several newly annointed union members, Markovitz said.

His client, Markovitz said, didn’t go to the banquet hall thinking he would go unrecognized, and hoping to get away with it.

“These are people he knows, and they know him,” Markovitz said.

Markovitz suggested that his client has been so traumatized by his former friend that it culminated in Sandhu feeling he needed to do something.

“I never appreciated the impact of bullying,” Markovitz said.

Sandhu was arrested by Richmond RCMP just minutes after the shooting and a short distance away.

Sandhu is charged with three counts of attempted murder, one count of aggravated assault, as well as five firearms-related offences.

The name of Sandhu’s target is the subject of a court-ordered publication ban.

Three of the four shooting victims were union members, one of whom was critically injured, but all were listed in stable condition the day after the shooting.

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