Edmontonians say they’re shaken by a fatal daytime shooting of a man and his 11-year-old son in a busy suburban shopping area.
Ward Karhiio Coun. Keren Tang represents a southeast area of the city that includes the Harvest Pointe commercial plaza, where 41-year-old Harpreet Uppal and his son were shot dead in their vehicle around noon on Thursday.
Police say Uppal was followed and targeted, and the boy was also “intentionally” killed.
“Quite honestly, as a parent, I don’t have the words to adequately describe how devastated I feel,” Tang said.
“I can’t fathom the circumstance in which anyone would want to target, and intentionally harm and kill, a child.”
Another boy, who wasn’t related to Uppal, was also in the vehicle at the time of the shooting, but wasn’t shot, police said.
WATCH | Police characterized the shooting as gang-related
By Friday afternoon, the yellow police tape around the scene outside a combined Petro-Canada and A&W had been removed.
Flowers, a stuffed lion and a red basketball jersey were assembled at a growing memorial near the gas pumps.
Speaking at a news conference earlier Friday, Edmonton Police Service acting Supt. Colin Derksen said the loss of a child to gun violence is an “unthinkable tragedy.”
He added that the shooting posed a serious danger to everyone in the area at the time.
“The risk to members of the public was significant and terrifying,” he said.
“This incident is just another reminder, a stark reminder, of the dangers that bystanders face when violence erupts in public spaces. And I wish I didn’t have to say things like that. But unfortunately, it’s happening all too often.”
Police have not released any suspect descriptions. They are asking any witnesses of anyone with security or dashcam footage to contact them.
‘The community is shaken up’
Derksen said Uppal was “very well known” to police as someone “high up” in the world of gangs and drugs.
Uppal was facing charges related to cocaine possession and trafficking, as well as illegal possession of body armour. A trial was set to start in April 2024.
He was also charged with assault with a weapon and unauthorized possession of a firearm in relation to a case from March 2021. The Crown stayed those proceedings in February.
Uppal’s lawyer told CBC News in a statement Friday that he wouldn’t comment, respecting the family’s wishes.
Jason Meyer lives near the shopping complex where the shooting took place. Driving through the area Friday, he said it’s terrible to know a family has been torn apart.
“The community is shaken up because of it,” he said.
“Out here in the suburb kind of area, we have 11-year-old kids getting shot. And that’s just not something you really want to see in Edmonton.”
Tang said she’s heard from worried residents in the wake of the shooting, she’s considering what extra supports the city might need to provide.
But she added the police investigation is still new, and many are still waiting for more information.
“I don’t think any amount of support at this point will give people that sense of security,” she said.
“It’s just so fresh and has so much impact in the community.”
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