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Witness helps Surrey RCMP catch suspect in city's first homicide of 2020

Last Updated Jan 2, 2020 at 7:39 pm PDT

A white tent is set up in the parking lot of a strip mall in Surrey at 7500 Scott Rd as police investigate the city's first homicide of 2020. (Hana Mae Nassar/NEWS 1130 Photo)

A man has died after an assault in Surrey; one person has been arrested

Mounties were called to the area of Scott Road and 75a Avenue just before 1:00 a.m. Thursday

This is the first homicide of 2020 in Surrey

SURREY (NEWS 1130) – A witness helped police catch a man suspected of being involved in Surrey’s first homicide of 2020.

One man is dead after reports of an assault just before 1:00 a.m. Thursday. Officers got a call about a fight in the parking lot of a strip mall at Scott Road and 75a Avenue, in the Strawberry Hill neighbourhood, but when they arrived, they found the victim who had already died.

Police say multiple people saw the fight and one person followed the suspect.

“One of the witnesses did a good job of keeping an eye on the suspect from a safe distance after he fled the scene, and was able to direct police to his whereabouts,” says Cst. Harrison Mohr with the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team. “Frontline Surrey RCMP officers responded quickly and arrested the suspect minutes after the altercation, and also located a possible weapon involved in the murder.”

A 33-year-old man with no known ties to gangs or drug trafficking was arrested, but police are still trying to figure out if anyone else was involved. Investigators are still trying to identify the victim.

Police tape and a white tent were set up in the strip mall parking lot at 7500 Scott Rd, Thursday morning and around a home a couple blocks away.

“It’s scary. I don’t like that at all. This neighbourhood is a little scary some times. That just puts into perspective of it’s a little off putting,” said Madison Clarke, who works at a bakery in the strip mall.

Her colleague Whitney Schellenberg echoed her concerns, saying both of them are at work early in the morning, often before the sun comes up.

“It kind of is scary when it’s dark out. Normally it’s usually okay, but it’s a little surprising,” she said.

It’s unclear what circumstances led to this first homicide in Surrey this year, but the RCMP says investigators will be on scene for an “unknown period of time.”

Anyone with information about what happened, is asked to call the Surrey RCMP at 604.599.0502 or Crime Stoppers at 1.800.222.TIPS.