Man arrested in Burnaby cold case
Burnaby RCMP charged a man Thursday in a cold case in which the victim was shot to death in the Bonsor parking lot almost 19 years ago.
Vancouver resident Jaswant Singh Gill, 40, has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Thomas Eldon Akerman, 26.
Akerman was killed shortly after 2 p.m. on Dec. 23, 1994 when he was shot several times while seated in his vehicle in the parking lot of Bonsor Recreation Centre, said Corp. Sharon Toor of Burnaby RCMP's unsolved homicide unit.
The suspect and the victim knew each other. Toor declined to explain how they knew each other as it is part of the case before the courts.
Police are not aware of any gang involvement at this time, she said.
Akerman had some involvement with police previously but Gill did not before 1994.
Gill is scheduled to appear in court on the first-degree murder charge on Monday, March 25.
The case was solved through a joint effort with the Vancouver Police Department, which last month charged Gill with the second-degree murder of his wife, Gurpreet Gill, in 2006. The two cases are not related, Toor said.
Gill has been in custody since he was arrested in Vancouver on Feb. 16. He was arrested for both murders, but Crown counsel only approved charges in the Akerman case on Thursday, Toor said.
"This investigation has been current since 1994 and in the last several months some new information has come to light which has brought us to today being able to lay charges against Mr. Gill," she said.
Burnaby RCMP have called Gill a "violent predator," Toor said, because he has been "involved with the police in other violent investigations which I cannot speak about at this time" in addition to the two murder charges.
Toor said she has spoken personally with Akerman's father and sister. "It's a great relief to them that after 19 years that someone is being held responsible and charged with the death of their loved one, their family member."
Burnaby RCMP plan to contact and speak again with the original witnesses from the 1994 investigation.
In 2006, the relatives of Gill's 33-year-old wife Gurpreet reported her missing to VPD after not hearing from her for some time, according to a VDP press release last month. She had moved to the Vancouver area after her arranged marriage with Gill. They had no children.
Investigators believed she had met with foul play but there were few clues until early February when human remains discovered in Richmond in 2006 were confirmed to be those of Gurpreet Gill.