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Ripudaman Singh Malik, acquitted in 1985 Air India bombing, shot dead in Surrey, B.C.

Click to play video: 'Ripudaman Singh Malik killed in Surrey shooting' Ripudaman Singh Malik killed in Surrey shooting
One of the men charged and acquitted in the Air India bombing trial is dead after what RCMP are calling a targeted shooting in Surrey. Andrea Macpherson reports. – Jul 14, 2022

Ripudaman Singh Malik, who was acquitted in the 1985 Air India terrorist bombings, was killed in a “targeted” shooting on Thursday in a neighbourhood of Surrey, B.C.

In a Facebook post, his son, Jaspreet Singh Malik, said his father dedicated his life to promoting Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s teachings of “love, honestly and Sarbat Da Bhalla (the betterment of all humanity).

“The media will always refer to him as someone charged with the Air India bombing. He was wrongly charged and the Court concluded there was no evidence against him.”

Police were called to the Newton neighbourhood over reports of gunfire. They arrived to find a man who’d been shot, and who later died of his injuries.

Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri were acquitted in 2005 of mass murder and conspiracy charges related to the pair of Air India bombings that killed 331 people, mostly from the Toronto and Vancouver areas.

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Firefighters extinguish a vehicle fire outside a home in the 8200-block of 128 Street in Surrey, B.C. Mounties were called to the address on Thurs. July 14, 2022, and found a man suffering from gunshot wounds. He died of his injuries at the scene. Submitted

The attacks are the largest mass killing in Canadian history, and set off an international investigation that ended in just one person being convicted, and multitudes of criticism aimed at the RCMP and federal agencies.

On June 23, 1985, a bomb that had been planted on Air India Flight 182 exploded as the plane was mid-air over the Atlantic Ocean, nearing Ireland. No one survived, including the 268 Canadians aboard.

Two baggage handlers were killed not long after, when a bag exploded at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport as it was being transferred to Air India Flight 301.

Click to play video: 'Family of Ripudaman Singh Malik is speaking out' Family of Ripudaman Singh Malik is speaking out
Family of Ripudaman Singh Malik is speaking out – Jul 14, 2022

Fifteen years later, after the conviction of bomb-maker Inderjit Singh Reyat and the death of Talwinder Singh Parmar, believed to have been the mastermind of the attack, Malik was arrested.

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He and Bagri were charged with 329 counts of first-degree murder in the Air India Flight 182 bombing, as well as murder, attempted murder and conspiracy in connection with the Narita airport bombing.

Their nearly 20-month trial ended with an acquittal in 2005, in which a B.C. Supreme Court judge determined the primary witnesses were not credible and the evidence from RCMP and Crown had fallen “markedly short” of the threshold for conviction.

Read more: Man acquitted in Air India case won’t get $9.2 million in costs reimbursed:judge

Click to play video: 'History of Air India Flight 182 bombing' History of Air India Flight 182 bombing
History of Air India Flight 182 bombing – Feb 7, 2020

Deepak Khandelwal of Oakville, Ont., was 17 when his sisters, 21-year-old Chandra and 19-year-old Manju, were killed when Flight 182 fell from the sky.

“It’s like a nightmare that never stops giving,” he said of the many years it took for the trial to start, the missteps made by police during the investigation and an inquiry into Canada’s worst mass murder.

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“It just brings back all the horrible memories we’d had to go through for the last 37 years,” said Khandelwal, whose family was living in Saskatoon when the bombings happened.

He was supposed to be on the flight, he added, but cancelled several days beforehand to complete Grade 12 instead of go to his uncle’s wedding.

Read more: Inderjit Singh Reyat, only person convicted in Air India bombing, released from halfway house

Investigators believe Thursday’s shooting in Surrey was targeted.

A suspect vehicle was found on fire several blocks away, police said, and believe a second getaway vehicle may have been involved.

An employee who works at a car wash nearby the site of the shooting said he pulled Malik from his car, a red Tesla, as he was bleeding from three gunshot wounds, including one to the neck. The man, who didn’t want to be named because of safety concerns, said Malik had been a customer and also owned a business in the area.

Asaf Gill, who owns a carpet business, said he had an appointment with Malik about a half-hour before he was killed.

“But then I come here and find this,” he said of yellow police tape that surrounded the scene where a tight-knit business community was in shock.

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Click to play video: 'Memorial held in Vancouver for 329 passengers killed on Air India Flight 182' Memorial held in Vancouver for 329 passengers killed on Air India Flight 182
Memorial held in Vancouver for 329 passengers killed on Air India Flight 182 – Jun 23, 2022

“We are aware of Mr. Malik’s background, though at this time we are still working to determine the motive,” says Sgt. Timothy Pierotti of the RCMP’s Integrated Homicide Investigation Team in a news release.

“Having occurred in a residential area, we are confident that witnesses exist that could help us further this investigation. We urge them to come forward immediately and without delay.”

Malik, a 75-year-old millionaire businessman, founded the Khalsa Credit Union and was the head of the private, Sikh-faith-based Khalsa schools across the country.

– With files from The Canadian Press

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