RCMP hate crime unit consulted in Kelowna bus stop assault | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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RCMP hate crime unit consulted in Kelowna bus stop assault

Gagandeep Singh was identified through an online fundraiser as the victim of an assault at a Kelowna bus stop on March 17, 2023.
Image Credit: GOFUNDME

Members of the B.C. RCMP hate crimes unit are being consulted as the investigation into the attack of an international student at a Kelowna bus stop continues.

The B.C. Hate Crimes Team is helping to uncover any "hate elements" in the assault are properly identified and investigated, according to an  RCMP news release issued today, March 21.

Police haven't confirmed whether they believe the attack was racially motivated, but previously said the victim was "teased" on the bus and assaulted from behind as he was leaving the bus around 10:35 p.m., March 17.

"It is imperative that we conduct our investigations methodically and thoroughly to obtain all available evidence," Insp. Rob Pikola, Kelowna RCMP's acting officer in charge, said in the news release.

READ MORE: Donation page set up for international student attacked at Kelowna bus stop

Investigators are working with the victim and have offered victim services to him, while B.C. Transit is providing evidence to help find the assailants.

Kelowna RCMP has identified a "suspect group," but they haven't arrested anyone.

"We condemn this incident and take all acts of violence very seriously," Pikola said.

The victim was identified in an online fundraiser as Gagandeep Singh, an international student who's been in Kelowna for a year. The fundraiser says suffered injuries to his chest, face, arms and legs after he was "attacked by a group of people."

Fundraiser organizer Adam Wilson issued a statement from Singh after the public quickly responded with donations.

"The last few days have been very difficult for me. I am at home resting and recovering from the attack," Singh said in the written statement. "I really appreciate the support across Canada from everyone. The comments in the GoFundMe page and the outpouring of support has reminded me of why I came to Canada. Thank you for your donations over the last two days, they are above and beyond what I ever imagined.

The fundraiser has far surpassed its $10,000 goal at over $21,000 as this morning.

"With your support, we can help ensure that during Gagandeep's road to recovery, he doesn't need to worry about where the money will come from to pay for physio, food, rent or even to have his parents fly to Kelowna from India to see him," the fundraiser reads.

The City of Kelowna issued a statement today saying council was shocked and appalled to hear of the assault.

“We are routinely being updated on this matter. We are grateful the Kelowna RCMP is thoroughly investigating this situation including engaging the B.C. Hate Crimes Team to ensure that hate elements, if any, are properly identified and investigated. The RCMP will keep the community informed of new developments as they arise," the statement says. "Our sympathies are with the young man as he recovers from his injuries and we wish him a full and speedy recovery."

Gagandeep was found laying on the ground at the McCurdy Road and Highway 97 bus stop, surrounded by friends, when officers arrived.

Investigators are still looking to the public for any video footage from the area between 10:15 p.m. and 10:45 p.m., March 17.

— This story was updated at 1:57 p.m. March 21, 2023, with a statement from Gagandeep Singh and Kelowna city council.

— This story was updated at 5 p.m. March 21, 2023, with new information from RCMP that clarifies the B.C. Hate Crimes Team been consulted and is not investigating.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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