Stabbing in Newton sends one to hospital- right in front of me.

RCMP lead young male away for questioning at Newton Bus Loop in Surrey

RCMP lead young male away for questioning at Newton Bus Loop in Surrey

One young man is in hospital with what are described as non- life threatening injuries, and police are searching for  a single male suspect who fled the scene on foot.

This, after I found myself smack dab in the middle of a police incident at the Newton Wave pool and Recreational Centre this evening.

As I made my way through the crowd, two officers halted one male youth in front of me, to the angry cries of teenage girls nearby who were screaming ” He didn’t do it, he’s the wrong one!”

As the young male was taken by officers to a nearby car for questioning- he was later released, I’m told-  I overheard two young men in the crowd behind us, quietly talking about getting out of there. Turning around, I asked them who they were,and what  had just happened. Jeremy V. and Bobby D. claim to be ‘friends’ of the man who they say, was stabbed right before their eyes.

” This guy, he went over to “get”some stuff, you know, some stuff, and my friend, he told them he didn’t have anything for him. Next thing you know, the guy gets pissed and says give me your wallet,man,and he like, JACKS  him, right there. “

” You were right there? You actually saw this happen? What do you mean, jacks him?” I asked

” Oh,like he pulled out a knife and Uhnn, Uhhnnn, Uhhnm like two, three times.( he pantomimes stabbing motions towards the other kids ribs under his arm)  He wanted his cash. Like, I think maybe he got his lungs, because it was like, black black blood coming out man, like he was down.  But it’s not the guy who they got there, he was just chillin’ with his posse.”

” Have you talked to the police and told them this yet? You need to talk to them.” I told them.

“Oh man, like no way! Noooo , no way, like we are out of here ’cause we don’t need that crap.We aren’t saying nothing. This guy does business here, you know what I’m saying? We don’t need that. Hey, you wanta take our picture with your camera? “

” Sure.”  I revealed to them that I’m a local writer,but not with any papers. I obtained their contact information and urged them to tell police what they know, then moved on to find an officer around the back who I could pass this information onto, in the event it would assist. But not before talking to some people around the scene.

Janet L., 70, was waiting for a bus – knitting – while all of this was going on.I could not believe it. Just sitting there knitting, with all the  RCMP and lights and sirens. I asked her what she thought of the violence around her at the moment.

” I don’t even look, my dear, or they will come after me.” Janet takes the bus home from the senior centre in the area,where she plays Wii with the other residents. She doesn’t like taking the bus here, but has no choice. Her eyesight had diminished severely in the last year, so transit is her only option. I asked her if she has any issues with this area and she rolls her eyes.

” Who doesn’t ?” she laughs, but more from nervousness than glee. ” But what can you do? No one listens, no one cares about us old folk.”

“I care”, I say to Janet, getting angry, and then I gave her my card and continued on my way, stopping again to speak with two community patrol volunteers.

I told them who I was, and that I had a concern that the cosmetic attempt to make things better in the area clearly is not working. They nodded in agreement.

They both laughed when I said that the city thinks people in Surrey are reacting to a ” cliched perception” of Surrey’s old reputation.That it is in fact, generally safe around here.

“This area is the worst! ” one of the two said.They are always chasing dealers and addicts away from the Loop and Rec Centre, calling in incidents to the RCMP for handling.

I asked them if they carried protection, and they both said that they had only their radios. I shook my head at that one. The dealers own that Newton bus loop, and I am not the only one who knows it.

Saying goodbye, I spotted a fellow who works with the  Community Patrol around the Newton Rec Centre, and I asked him what happened. He  told  me  that he heard someone got stabbed, but it was not confirmed. I told him about the two guys I talked to, and he pointed over to an officer coming in our direction.

Heading over, I told the officer who I am and that I spoke to two guys over at the bus loop who claimed to be with the victim and that I have their names and a photo of them. He told me he had already talked to them, and that unless I actually saw what happened he didn’t need my information.

Then he walked away.

One would think that he would at least confirm that the youth I spoke to were  in fact,the same ones that he spoke to – but he did not.  As he continued on, the victim, a young male, was wheeled out on a stretcher by ambulance attendants.

Newton stabbing victim

Newton stabbing victim

The Surrey RCMP have issued this press release:

Surrey – Surrey Stabbing – Newton Bus Loop

File #2009-234672009-02-27 18:38 PST
At 5:00pm, Surrey RCMP received a report that a 20 year old man was stabbed in an altercation with another young man near the bus loop located on 72nd Avenue near King George Highway. The suspect was chased from the scene and fled Southwest. He was not located. He is described as a white male in his early 20’s, 5’9″ wearing a red jersey or hoodie and sunglasses. The victim was transported to hospital with what are described as non-life threatening injuries. Surrey RCMP are on scene and investigating.

Anyone who witnessed this or has information, please contact the Surrey RCMP at (604)599-0502 or contact Crimestoppers.

http://surrey.rcmp.ca/ViewPage.action?siteNodeId=79&contentId=8305&index=1&languageId=1

I  left the scene, but was not able to shake the feeling of disgust and disbelief that followed me home.

I have been writing about the Newton area for over a year. I live in an area  that is approximately a 20 minute run away, and only a short distance from one of the recent gang hits.

It is “supposed” to be a nice area.  But it’s not.

A year ago, I took a CBC camera-man, led by  reporter Susana da Silva, on a driven tour of the area.

I showed them where city hall plans to install slot machines. I showed them all the cheque cashing businesses that have cropped up. They documented the criminal element in the area – the drug dealing, the prostitution –  along with gun casings and needles and used up old condoms…. http://www2.canada.com/surreynow/news/letters/story.html?id=98c894af-b0ad-44ab-b845-4a8372830cb4

But it appears to have all been in vain.

A “Newton Rejuvenation” plan the mayor announced within two weeks of that story has resulted in  nothing  6 months later, but  some street banners, some planters that are now gone, and a $40,000 contract for an urban planner that – on the advice of others- is exploring  projects within the areas that will restore pride to the area residents.

Pride? Pride?

They aren’t talking crime and social evils. They are talking about things like planting trees and flowers and all those touchy-feely,warm fuzzy kind of things. They are not even addressing ” the issues.”

Band-aids. Things like the murals that the city installed at the very same wave pool where the dealers harass me three times a week.

Where the stabbing happened tonight.

I have had enough.

I am sick of seeing these dealers everytime I go through this bus loop. I am tired of talking to people here who feel like I do, but also feel immobilized by the lack of action.

I am sick of hearing the mayor saying how the other levels of government have let her down in her big crime prevention plan.

I am tired of worrying about whether or not I am going to get robbed when I go out for a walk because I have nice jewellery.

I am sick of  worrying whether or not I will find myself- or worse yet ,my children- in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I feel so bad that my dad in Prince George worries about me just living here. He wants us to move out of Surrey and back to the Steveston area of Richmond, where we previously lived.

What more can  I do?  Brings to mind a line from a movie I recently saw.

” I have nothing. No money, no power.

But my words are my fists, and I wield them as weapons and I am coming out fighting…”

Rubin ” The Hurricane”  Carter

Newton Wave Pool / Bus Loop

Newton Wave Pool / Bus Loop

Newton Bus loop

Newton Bus loop

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7 Responses to Stabbing in Newton sends one to hospital- right in front of me.

  1. BC Mary says:

    A fine piece of writing, Laila …

    You’ve created a vivid word-picture of a criminality which seems to be woven into everyday life. That’s what’s so baffling — the closeness and ordinariness of serious violence. Bobby, Jeremy, Janet, they don’t even seem surprised by the stabbing, or by having “not to look up”.

    That’s the story that needs to be understood … thank you for helping to do that.

    But please be careful, Laila.

    • Laila says:

      Thanks Mary, I’m always as careful as I can be.

      You are very right about ” the banality of evil” comment in your email. Throughout all of this, there were so many people still just standing around, talking and whatever, not even shocked.
      Now,while part of me is beginning to understand this attitude more and more – after all, this area is going to Hell faster than even I thought – to become so used to violence that it becomes the norm…?
      Scary.
      Although this was not a gang incident, it speaks to the pervasiveness of the drug culture in our area.

      all I can say is, God help anyone who tries to ” jack ” me.

  2. Brittany says:

    Oh my goodness, that is unbelievable!

  3. Michelle says:

    Do you have a map pinpointing the incidents occuring in different parts of Surrey? It is very scary when residents are helpless and also apathetic to all these happening.

    • Laila says:

      I will see what I can find. I do know that the RCMP website has crime maps showing break-ins and auto thefts- as for violent incidents, I’m not sure. Most have been media created. Sometimes fear manifests itself as indifference. We turn our heads and and block out what we don’t want to hear as a coping mechanism and try to reassure ourselves that it is not as bad as we think.

  4. salvatore bennedetto says:

    Time to start packing a gun and take back the area.

  5. Mike says:

    Hey Laila,

    You’ve really hit the nail in the head! All politicians are the same bull****. They look for excuses to avoid dealing with issues because they care about money and power. It’s about time these idiots stop blaming each other and start working toward resolutions for social issues. Unbelievable…no wonder nothing gets done.

    These arrogant, greedy old farts (who’ve stunk up city hall) are bought and paid for by these spoiled snooty jerk-offs in South Surrey who piss so much time away contemplating their lonesome existences in their ocean view ivory towers.

    I know this may seems like the only resort, but if it was me, I would try to sell my place, run away as far I can and never look back…not even for one minute!

    Keep telling it like it is, Laila!

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