Hate crimes team consulted for investigation into attack on international student at Kelowna bus stop

Hate crimes team consulted

UPDATE 1:55 p.m.

Kelowna city council has registered its disgust in Friday's vicious assault of a 21-year-old man at a bus stop on Highway 97.

In a joint news release Tuesday, mayor and council say they are "shocked and appalled" to hear of the assault against Gagandeep Singh.

"We are routinely being updated on this matter. We are grateful the Kelowna RCMP is thoroughly investigating this situation including engaging the BC Hate Crimes team to ensure that hate elements, if any, are properly identified and investigated," a prepared statement read.

"Council has identified tackling crime as one of our highest priorities and violent crimes like this one will not be tolerated in our community.

"We will work collaboratively with all our community safety partners and stakeholder groups to make Kelowna a safe place for all citizens and visitors."

ORIGINAL 9:45 a.m.

The Kelowna RCMP have identified a suspect group in the attack on an international student from India on Friday night, but no one has been arrested yet.

The BC Hate Crimes Team has been consulted in the investigation after 21-year-old Gagandeep Singh was viciously swarmed, had his turban torn off, was dragged by his hair, beaten and kicked after getting off a Kelowna Regional Transit bus at the corner of Highway 97 and McCurdy Road around 10:30 p.m. Friday.

He suffered extensive non life-threatening injuries.

The Kelowna RCMP's General Investigation team is leading the investigation with support from the BC Hate Crimes team to ensure that any hate elements are properly identified and investigated.

“It is imperative that we conduct our investigations methodically and thoroughly to obtain all available evidence” states acting officer in charge of the Kelowna Regional RCMP Insp. Rob Pikola. “We condemn this incident and take all acts of violence in our community very seriously."

Singh’s friends say he was harassed by his attackers before getting off the bus. BC Transit is cooperating with police.

Investigators are canvassing for video evidence and asking anyone with dash camera footage from the area of McCurdy Road and Highway 97 from between 10:15 and 10:45 p.m. on March 17 to come forward.

Singh has been offered the support of Kelowna RCMP Victim Services.

His friends and members of the Sikh community are calling for hate crime charges to be laid in the case.

A GoFundMe set up to help the young man, who didn’t have medical insurance, has received more than $21,000 in donations.

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