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Man caught with loaded 'ghost gun' at Burnaby mall gets 2.5 years in prison

Metro Vancouver Transit Police seized a loaded, semi-automatic handgun from Arunjit Virk just outside the Metrotown mall in March 2021.
Metrotown handgun
Transit police seized a loaded handgun during the arrest of a 19-year-old Surrey man at the Metrotown mall in March 2021.

A 23-year-old man caught carrying a loaded handgun around Burnaby's Metrotown mall nearly three years ago has been sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison.

Arunjit Virk was found guilty in February of possessing a loaded, unserialized handgun inside Metrotown mall on March 28, 2021.

He was in B.C. provincial court in Vancouver Tuesday to learn his sentence.

Crown prosecutor Ariel Bultz had called for a three-year prison sentence, while defence lawyer David Karp proposed a conditional sentence (a jail term served in the community) of between 18 and 24 months followed by a period of probation.

In delivering his sentence, Judge Reginald Harris noted Virk had chosen to carry a loaded gun with no serial number in a "highly public area" and had taken steps to conceal his offence.

If it had not been for Virk's youth, his lack of a previous criminal record, steps he has taken at rehabilitation and his strong family support, Harris said he would have imposed a longer sentence.

Harris rejected Karp's argument that Virk had gotten the gun for protection and that mental health struggles and a Percocet addiction had caused or contributed to the offence.

"When I consider all of the factors and information, I'm satisfied that Mr. Virk's possession of a loaded firearm, even if it were for protection, was for a criminal purpose," Harris said.

Virk drew the attention of a Metro Vancouver Transit Police officer on March 28, 2021 because of a suspected drug transaction in a Metrotown mall parking lot. 

After Virk left the lot and entered the mall, police tracked his movements on the mall's CCTV system.

Police arrested him after he left the mall and was about to get into a taxi.

As he was being patted down, Virk told the arresting officer he had a gun in his bag, and police found a loaded "Glock-style" handgun inside Virk's satchel, which had been stuffed into a shopping bag in the taxi.

Family members called out to Virk after Harris delivered his sentence.

"We love you," family members could be heard saying.

"Please don't leave me," Virk wailed.

Along with the prison sentence, Harris also handed Virk a 10-year firearms ban.

Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor