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.
The Surrey RCMP have issued this press release:
Anyone who witnessed this or has information, please contact the Surrey RCMP at (604)599-0502 or contact Crimestoppers.
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.
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