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Banquet hall shooter found not criminally responsible
A gunman who shot four people at the Riverside Banquet Hall in East Richmond in January of 2013, has been found not criminally responsible.
Lawyer Danny Markovitz, who represented accused shooter Sukhdeep Singh Sandhu, told The Review that his client will now be assessed by a review board which has the option to give him an absolute discharge, a conditional discharge or can elect to hold him in a mental health centre until they see fit to release him.
Richmond provincial court Judge Patrick Chen gave a "reasoned decision" more than a month after the last evidence and testimony was entered in court, Markovitz said.
While Markovitz said his client was happy with the verdict, the reaction from the victims and their family and friends in the courtroom last week, indicated quite the opposite.
They quickly left the courtroom and huddled in the hallway outside to discuss what had happened, Markovitz said.
Had he been in their shoes, Markovitz said he would have felt the same way.
"Nobody has won in this," said Markovitz who said he and his client feel very much for the victims and their families and all those impacted by the Jan. 16, 2013 shooting.
Sandhu will remain in a psychiatric hospital after being declared a paranoid schizophrenic.
While psychiatrist Stanley Semrau testified that medication has improved Sandhu's decision, Markovitz believes that Sandhu's placement in a hospital is a much better setting for his treatment.
Markovitz said his client regrets the incident and feels all the victims were victims in the truest sense of the word and didn't deserve what happened to them.
"My heart goes out to them," he said.
With his victims and their families sitting in the court gallery, Sandhu testified that he heard voices instructing him to shoot the intended target.
Sandhu donned a bullet-proof vest , and wore gloves a as he entered the banquet hall and opened fire.
A private function was organized by members of the Longshore & Warehouse Union, both as a birthday party and to celebrate 10 newly annointed union members.