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Man accused of carrying loaded handgun near Burnaby mall now charged with resisting police

Arunjit Singh Virk, 20, was out on bail when he was chased and arrested by officers responding to an altercation outside a nightclub early Monday morning
Metrotown handgun
Transit police seized a loaded handgun from a 19-year-old Surrey man at the Metrotown mall in March.

A 20-year-old Surrey man charged with carrying a loaded handgun near Burnaby’s Metrotown mall in March was zapped and arrested in Vancouver Monday while he was out on bail awaiting trial.

Arunjit Singh Virk was charged with illegal firearm possession on March 29, after Metro Vancouver Transit Police officers interrupted what they thought was a drug deal in a parking lot by the Metrotown mall on March 28.

During a safety check, Virk told them he had a gun in his bag, and police found and seized a loaded 9mm pistol, according to information presented in court.

Virk was released on bail and pleaded not guilty to the charge in Vancouver provincial court last Thursday.

But he was back in court this week on a new charge of resisting a police officer over the long weekend.

Just after 2:30 a.m. on Monday, Vancouver police got a call from a man who said someone wielding a knife had taken his bag, Crown prosecutor Kathleen Lafontaine said at a bail hearing for Virk Tuesday.

According to alleged facts presented by Lafontaine – facts that have not yet been proven in court – the officers arrived to find two men struggling over a bag.

The man who made the 911 call got his bag back, Lafontaine said, and the other man took off when he saw the police.

“Police chase him; they’re trying to get him to stop, and he doesn’t,” Lafontaine said. “He throws a knife onto a rooftop during that chase. Officers deploy (energy weapon); that doesn’t stop him. There’s even a brief struggle before they’re finally able to detain Mr. Virk.”

Lafontaine noted Virk isn’t facing robbery charges because the man who had originally called police has not cooperated with the investigation.

And defence lawyer David Karp said Virk has his own version of events.

“He tells me that he was at this nightclub with his friend minding his own business, when this individual who was unknown to him came up and bumped or pushed into him, engaging him in an argument,” Karp said.

He said the situation escalated quickly, and Virk took the bag “in a self-defence type of situation” because he thought there might be a weapon inside it.

“Once it escalated and the police were called, in his drunken state, he panicked, and, instead of cooperating and explaining what had occurred, he made the stupid mistake of running,” Karp said.

Karp noted Virk did not have a criminal record and his family was prepared to ensure he abided by his bail conditions.

Lafontaine said she believed bail could still be considered for Virk, despite the seriousness of the underlying firearm charge, and she suggested releasing him on a $1,500 cash deposit from his parents, with a 10 p.m.-to-6 a.m. curfew and an order to live at his parent’s Surrey home.

She also recommended Virk be banned from downtown Vancouver, the Metrotown mall and all pubs, bars and liquor stores while he is out on bail.

She further suggested he be banned from possessing weapons, including knives, and from contacting the man he’d had the altercation with in Vancouver.

Judge Jodie Werier agreed to the recommended bail conditions, but she noted the underlying firearm charge was “extremely serious” and the incident over the weekend had made the situation even more so.

“I want to make it clear you’re running out of chances,” Werier said to Virk.  

Virk is due back in court on the firearm charge next week.

Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor
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