Photo shows Premier Horgan, Surrey politicians with convicted gunman

Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner says she didn’t know Maninder Gill would be attending private event

A photo of Councillor Tom Gill (second from left) at the same event with Maninder Gill (far left).

A photo of Premier John Horgan, Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner and Surrey-Panorama MLA Jinny Sims with a convicted gunman is generating heat for the politicians.

The picture shows the politicians posing with former Radio India managing director Maninder Gill at a private residence. Gill was sentenced to four years in jail for a shooting that took place outside a wedding at a Sikh temple in 2010. Gill is appealing the conviction.

READ MORE: Four years in jail for former managing director of Radio India

The photo was taken at a private event hosted by Kulwant Dhesi. Dhesi did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Hepner said she attended the event as a guest and posing with Gill was “a mistake.” She said she didn’t consult with anyone prior to attending and wasn’t made aware of the guest list.

“People just said, ‘Come in, come in, take a picture.’ And I didn’t pay enough attention as I should have given that I know Maninder Gill and it’s not my intention to give a mixed message because I’m very clear about how passionately I feel about gun violence…. It’s heading into silly season, so I do have to be a bit more careful with whom I’m being photographed.”

Hepner said she looked at the event as an opportunity to speak with Premier Horgan.

“Kulwant Deshi called me and asked me to attend a function with the Premier. I did see it as an opportunity as the mayor to start creating a good kind of relationship when he’s in my city. So off I went.”

If she knew who was in the photo, she wouldn’t have been in it, she stressed.

Hepner said she also said she didn’t pay to attend and no one said it was a fundraiser.

“I didn’t stay for dinner,” she added.

Sims, who is standing right in front of Gill in the photo, has released a statement saying she, too, was unaware of the guest list, or that Maninder Gill would be in attendance.

“Anyone who knows me understands that I abhor violence. I have spent my life fighting against violence of all types,” said Sims in her statement. “Maninder Gill was convicted of a very serious crime that I do not condone in any way. He should not have been there.”

Surrey Councillors Mike Starchuk and Tom Gill were also at the event.

Tom Gill was also photographed with Maninder Gill, who is the brother of Tom Gill’s mother-in-law.

He was not immediately available for comment.

Tom Gill was sued by Surrey businessman Harjit Atwal over comments Maninder Gill made to the Surrey Leader about the violent 2010 incident that Maninder was convicted in. Atwal was shot in the thigh outside a wedding at Newton’s Guru Nanak temple.

There were rumours in 2015 that the case had just been settled out of court, and at the time, Tom Gill said it would be “premature” to comment.

READ MORE: Taxpayers will pay for Gill’s legal bills in defamation suit

amy.reid@surreynowleader.com

 

The photo circulating of politicians posing with convicted gunman Maninder Gill (fifth from the left).

Just Posted

Minimal increase in city budget

Salmon Arm taxpayers to pay 1.5 per cent increase in 2018 taxes.

Traci Genereaux remembered at Vernon vigil

Family and friends remember Genereaux as a “fiery red-head with the best sense of humour”

Liberal leadership hopeful makes short stop

Dianne Watts to visit Salmon Arm and Vernon for one-hour meet-and-greets Wednesday

Brewers create anti-fascist ale

Not For Nazis Nut Brown Ale will be ready in time for Christmas

Angler fined for over-fishing on Gardom Lake

It was an expensive fishing trip for an Okanagan man this weekend.… Continue reading

Tattooing couple opens new shop in Lake Country

Cody and Fabiana Philpott opened NSI Tattoo in August

Major grant bolsters Penticton doctors research on pain

Local research team is headed by Penticton rheumatologist

Silverbacks lose nail-biter to Trail

Home team dominates against Cowichan before loss to Smokies

Piano power recognized

Several Shuswap music students scale conservatory heights

Locals excited for national special olympics

Bocce and basketball athletes to represent the Shuswap in Nova Scotia

Band strikes a Christmas note

Community concert takes place Dec. 9 at the Nexus in Salmon Arm

Author faces and triumphs over abuse

Book intended to inspire women who suffer from any form of abusive behaviour

Summerland business provides cannabidiol products

Products contain medical benefits of cannabis, but with no psychoactive properties

LETTER: Jumbo Valley is part of Ktunaxa territorial claim

Ktunaxa Nation Council responds to Tom Fletcher column

Most Read