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'Was an innocent victim'

Investigators now believe that a 47-year-old father of two gunned down in Surrey last month was not the intended target. 

Originally police said that Paul Bennett's death was the result of a targeted attack. In a Thursday morning press conference, the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team corrected that belief.

"This was a mistaken identity. Paul Bennett was an innocent victim," Cpl. Frank Jang said.

"No information has surfaced through our investigation that would say he had any form of criminality, that he was involved in any type of criminal activity. He was a completely innocent person."

Bennett was fatally wounded in a shooting that occurred around 4 p.m. in the 18200 block of 67A Avenue.

Surveillance video captured at the scene and obtained by CTV News showed a silver vehicle pulling in front of Bennett's Cloverdale home. 

Someone in dark clothes stepped out of the passenger-side door, ran out of the frame and at least eight shots were heard in quick succession.

The person who appeared to be the shooter then got back in the vehicle, which drove off before police arrived.

Bennett's death left his community shaken.

"He was a compassionate and caring individual who could be an empathetic listener, his wife, Darlene said. "He loved his boys and encouraged them in their sports and supported their dreams." 

Jang and members of the RCMP have spoken with residents of the area who are concerned for their safety.

"Clearly, the homicide of an innocent man such as Paul Bennett is a reflection of that," he said. 

They want to reassure the public that investigators are fully committed to the case.

He urged anyone who may have felt reluctant or nervous and withheld information to reach out. Tips can be left by phone at 1-877-551-4448 (IHIT) or by email. They can also be made anonymously through Crime Stoppers.

— files from CTV Vancouver



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