“That is sick and twisted."
A man, identified as a prominent figure in organised crime in Canada, and his 11-year-old son were shot dead in south Edmonton.
Police have described it as an escalation of gang violence in the province.
Harpreet Singh Uppal and his son were fatally shot outside a fuel station on the afternoon of November 9, 2023.
The boy’s friend, who was in Uppal’s car at the time, survived with no injuries.
Police said the boy was intentionally killed, not “caught in the crossfire”.
EPS acting Superintendent Colin Derksen admitted police do not know whether the assailants knew children were in the vehicle.
But he said: “But what we do know, sadly, is that once the shooter or the shooters learned that the son was there, they intentionally shot and killed him.”
Superintendent Derksen added that killing children was once off-limits for gang members. However, that is changing.
He continued: “That is sick and twisted. I think most gang members would agree.”
Pending autopsy, the boy’s name has not been released.
Uppal and his family were the targets of a 2021 shooting. They were having dinner at Royal Pizza when a gunman fired through the window.
Harsh Jindal – who police claimed was the getaway driver – was charged in the case.
In October 2023, his charges were dropped.
The Alberta Crown Prosecution Service said the charges were stayed after a preliminary inquiry led to the conclusion that there was “no longer a reasonable likelihood of conviction”.
Jindal’s lawyer Kristofer Advent said his client “has always maintained his innocence with respect to the shooting at the Royal Pizza” and was out of the province at the time of the shooting.
Mr Advent said: “Mr Jindal has advised that he was not involved in this incident in any way.
“He has been outside of Alberta since Oct 30, 2023, and he was nowhere near Edmonton on Nov 9, 2023.”
Uppal was scheduled to appear in court in May 2024 on charges of possessing cocaine for trafficking, possessing stolen property and possessing illegal body armour.
After the shooting, police found Uppal and his son in distress. However, they died at the scene. By 2 pm, over a dozen police vehicles closed 52 Street.
A suspect vehicle was identified as a stolen 2012 BMW X6.
Superintendent Derksen said the vehicle was found near 34 Street on fire a short while later. No one was inside the car and there were no reported injuries as a result of the fire.
No suspects have been identified.
Police are appealing to the public for any information.
According to the Edmonton Journal, Superintendent Derksen identified Uppal as a higher-level figure in Edmonton’s organised crime scene.
Although he did not say if Uppal was associated with any specific groups, sources said he was a prominent Brothers Keepers (BK) associate.
Uppal’s death is believed to be part of an ongoing conflict between the UN gang and the BK.
The violence originated in the Vancouver area but killings are now happening across Canada.
The day before Uppal’s death, UN member Parmvir Chahil was shot dead in Toronto.
Superintendent Derksen said it was too early to say “if there’s a connection” to violence in other cities, “or if there is, how far-reaching it is.”