A 21-year-old Surrey man awaits sentencing after being found guilty this week of carrying a loaded handgun around Burnaby’s Metrotown mall two years ago.
Arunjit Singh Virk was charged in March 2021, after an incident that started with a Metro Vancouver Transit Police officer spotting what he thought was a drug deal going on in the Metropolis at Metrotown parking lot on March 28, 2021.
Virk’s lawyer had argued his client’s Charter rights had been violated during his arrest and that a loaded pistol found in a bag he had been carrying and a statement he made to police shouldn’t be allowed as evidence.
On Wednesday, however, B.C. provincial court Judge Reginald Harris ruled the gun and statement should be allowed. He then found Virk guilty of the firearms offence.
Suspected drug deal
On March 28, 2021, Sgt. Dalvir Deol, with the Metro Vancouver Transit Police, and two other transit police officers went to the Metropolis at Metrotown mall to get surveillance video from the security office for an unrelated case, according to testimony presented in court.
While the other officers went inside, Deol patrolled the outside of the mall, he told the court, and saw what he thought was a drug deal between two men near the Bay.
As Deol approached in his unmarked police vehicle, he said one of the suspects – later determined to be Virk – briefly locked eyes with him and then walked away, entering the mall.
Deol contacted the officers in the mall's security office, he said, gave them a description of the suspect (a six-foot South Asian male, wearing a baby blue track suit and carrying a satchel over his shoulder) and told them to track his movements on the mall’s CCTV system.
Tracked on mall security video
The officers in the security office located Virk on the security system and relayed his movements back to Deol.
They saw Virk walking through the mall quickly, looking over his shoulder, and watched as he bought a new white track suit and ball cap, which he changed into before exiting the mall through the Walmart exit and jumping into a taxi.
Warned by his fellow officers, however, Deol was waiting for him.
He pulled over the taxi, told Virk he was being detained and told him to get out of the cab.
As he was being patted down, Virk told Deol 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.
Virk’s next court date is set for March 1.
Sentencing likely won’t take place for several months, as a pre-sentencing report is being prepared.