Burnaby shooting: Hanif Jessa fatally shot in targeted attack

Hanif Jessa, 53, was shot and killed in his vehicle in front of his Burnaby home yesterday afternoon

CBC News Posted: Jul 16, 2015 7:44 AM PT Last Updated: Jul 16, 2015 9:06 PM PT

Homicide investigators working on the shooting death of Vancouver city worker Hanif Jessa, 53, say they have leads but no suspects, and are appealing to anyone who may have seen the shooting to come forward.

Jessa, who had worked for the city for 25 years, was shot in his vehicle outside his Burnaby home in the middle of the day yesterday, said Sgt. Stephanie Ashton of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team.

“This investigation has raised concerns throughout the Lower Mainland,” said Ashton, who called the killing a targeted attack.

B.C.: Refugee family from Saudi Arabia built notorious family crime empire in Canada

B.C. parents learn hard $170,000 lesson in breeding ‘family crime empire’

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 | June 11, 2015 10:56 PM ET
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The family’s fourth son, Mahmoud Alkhalil, was one of three people killed in a notorious gunfight in 2003 in Vancouver’s Loft Six nightclub.

Nick Procaylo/Postmedia News/Files The family’s fourth son, Mahmoud Alkhalil, was one of three people killed in a notorious gunfight in 2003 in Vancouver’s Loft Six nightclub.

Two of their sons died in gangland shootouts, two others face drug trafficking or murder charges from mob-related incidents, and a fifth is on the run abroad. Now, their parents are learning another hard lesson in breeding a self-made crime group — they’ve lost the $170,000 they posted to have their eldest son released from jail.

Hossein Al Khalil and Soumayya Azzam were fighting in court to salvage bond money paid to have Nabil Alkhalil released. Their bond was lost when he fled Canada on a bogus passport soon after.

The judge’s ruling against them — with Nabil still a fugitive — is but one entry in an unrelenting stream of bad news involving their sons.

Toronto Police Service

Toronto Police Service Rabih Alkhalil is charged in a Vancouver hit and in a shooting at a cafe patio in Toronto’s Little Italy.

These two parents of five sons came to Canada, presumably to make a better life for themselves. Now, having buried two kids before they reached the age of 20, they have two more facing the possibility of a long time in prison,” said Sgt. Lindsey Houghton of B.C.’s Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit.

“The actions of these boys have destroyed that family.”

The family arrived in Canada from Saudi Arabia as refugees in 1990, although their roots are believed to be in Iran, and settled in Surrey, B.C. After two sons were killed in gangland violence, they moved to Ottawa and Montreal.

“They took all of their organized crime and gang connections with them,” said Houghton.

The couple’s second son had been the first to die.

In 2001, Khalil Alkhalil, 19, was shot dead in Surrey in a gunfight over a drug debt. His killer claimed self-defence and was freed. The shooter’s lawyer was beaten up in court by angry supporters of Alkhalil, and the shooter himself was later gunned down in Kelowna in a case that remains unsolved.

The fourth son, Mahmoud Alkhalil, was one of three people killed in a notorious gunfight in 2003 between gang rivals in Vancouver’s Loft Six nightclub. He made it out of the building, but was found bleeding and unconscious after crashing his car 20 blocks away. When he succumbed to his injuries at age 19, he already had a lengthy criminal record.

The youngest son, Rabih “Robby” Alkhalil, was only two when he came to Canada.

CABBAGETOWN: Eritrean refugee Adonay Zekarias convicted of first-degree murder in stabbing death of co-national Nighisti Semret

Guilty verdict in grisly Cabbagetown murder 2:19

Adonay Zekarias was convicted on Tuesday of first-degree murder in the stabbing death of Nighisti Semret.

Semret, 55, was found stabbed to death on a rainy morning on Oct. 23, 2012 as she walked down a Cabbagetown laneway following a night shift a nearby hotel.

She was stabbed seven times. Court heard that Semret fought her attacker, getting blood under her nails.

“Justice was served today,” Crown Attorney Mary Humphrey said.

The jury came back with a guilty verdict within four hours. The conviction comes with an automatic life sentence.

“My client and his family are very disappointed with the verdict,” said Susan Adams, Zekarias’s lawyer.

Semret had once been helping Zekarias with his English and both were Eritrean refugees.

Sentencing will commence on Friday at which time Semret’s son will make a victim impact statement.

Charged in another murder

​Some information, however, was not allowed to reach jury members before making their decision.

Zekarias, 43, has been charged in another murder, that of 28-year-old Rigat Ghirmay.

Adonay ZekariasAdonay Zekarias, seen above, has been convicted of first-degree murder in the death of Nighisti Semret. (Toronto Police Service)

Details about the other charge came out in an investigation led by police homicide Det. Gary Giroux who questioned Zekarias on Sept. 30, 2013, about 11 months after Semret’s death.

Ghirmay’s remains were found in a duffle bag in Toronto’s west end about six months after Semret was killed. Some remains are still missing.


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Mohammad Shafia and his gang terrorize inmates to attend Friday prayers

Senate committee hears about Shafia, serving life sentence for 2009 murders of 1st wife, 3 daughters

CBC News Posted: May 05, 2015 11:22 AM ET Last Updated: May 05, 2015 12:42 PM ET

Mohammad Shafia, his wife, Tooba Yahya and their son, Hamed, were convicted in 2012 of the murders of the couple's three daughters and Shafia's first wife. A national security committee was told Tuesday that Mohammad Shafia intimidated inmates into attending prayers.Mohammad Shafia, his wife, Tooba Yahya and their son, Hamed, were convicted in 2012 of the murders of the couple’s three daughters and Shafia’s first wife. A national security committee was told Tuesday that Mohammad Shafia intimidated inmates into attending prayers.
The Montreal man serving a life sentence for killing his wife and three teenage daughters intimidated other prisoners to the point that one asked to be put in isolation, a Senate committee has heard. Psychologist Robert Groves, who worked in Kingston Penitentiary, testified Monday before the national security and defence committee hearing on security threats facing Canada. He said he met with one particular non-Muslim inmate who went to great lengths to avoid Shafia.

“It turned out that he felt so intimidated by Shafia and some of his lieutenants, that he chose to give up his relative freedom of movement on the range in the general population for a much more restricted life on a social isolation range,” Groves said. “He could no longer come to see me. I had to go to his cell on the isolation range. He advised me that confinement was worth it to avoid the hassle of dealing with ‘the Muslims’” After his first-degree murder conviction in 2012, Shafia took on a religious leadership role at the Kingston Penitentiary — the onetime maximum-security prison — organizing Friday prayers when the sole Imam permitted to minister to inmates in Canada was not available, according to Groves.

TORONTO: Lascelles Allen charged with first-degree murder in death of former girlfriend, Suraiya Gangaram

Man accused of fatal stabbing still in hospital

CBC News Posted: May 10, 2015 12:07 PM ET Last Updated: May 10, 2015 5:27 PM ET

Toronto police say a man who threw himself in front of a train and survived is now charged with first-degree murder in the stabbing death of his former girlfriend.

Det.-Sgt. Steve Ryan told reporters Sunday morning that 51-year-old Lascelles Allen has been charged in the death of Suraiya Gangaram, a mother of three school-age children whose body was found on Friday.

“Suraiya’s young daughter returned home from school and found her mom lying on her kitchen floor. She was obviously dead,” said Ryan.

Lascelles AllenLascelles Allen, 51, has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of his former girlfriend, Suraiya Gangaram. (Trevor Dunn/CBC)

“Approximately one half-hour later, [he] attempted to jump in front of a westbound Via train near Markham Road and Cougar Court. He survived his injuries and is currently in hospital.”

Gangaram had been living in a townhouse on Danzig Street at the time of her death.

“It was despicable and incredibly cowardly in my view,” Ryan said, of the killing.

Ryan said that Allen and Gangaram, 31, were previously in a relationship for about two years.

It ended last year after Allen was charged with domestic assault, Ryan said.

OTTAWA: Eritrean couple Yassin Mender and Alem Haile were known to police

Ottawa woman’s name added to a long list of spousal murder-suicide victims

Published on: Last Updated: 
Pat McGrath / Ottawa Citizen

On the same weekend Canadians marked the 25th anniversary of the Montreal Massacre, in which 14 women were murdered, Ottawans were informed of the identity of yet another woman’s death at the hands of a man.

Alem Haile was found stabbed to death in the basement of her Gloucester home early Thursday morning. Police also found the hanged body of her husband, Yassin Mender, in the house. Investigators described the deaths as murder-suicide — the city’s seventh homicide of the year. The couple, aged 51 and 60, respectively, had three children.