Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone

Maple Batalia murder: Former boyfriend and ‘associate’ arrested in slaying of B.C. student

Maple Batalia

AJ Yao/THE CANADIAN PRESS University student Maple Batalia, 19, was inexplicably gunned down in a Vancouver suburb a year ago. On Saturday police announced they have arrested two suspects.

SURREY, B.C.—More than a year after popular university student Maple Batalia was gunned down in a campus parking lot, RCMP announced late Saturday that they have charged two men — one of them a former boyfriend of the victim.

Batalia, 19, was an aspiring actor and model who planned to be a doctor when she was shot after a late-night study session on Sept. 28, 2011 at Simon Fraser University’s Surrey campus.

RCMP announced Saturday night that former boyfriend Gurjinder “Gary” Dhaliwal, 20, was arrested Friday and charged with first-degree murder.

A second man, Gursimar Singh Bedi, 22, was also arrested Friday and charged with manslaughter, using a firearm and being an accessory after the fact. RCMP described the two men only as “associates.”

“This isn’t an easy day for us. It’s very bittersweet,” said Roseleen Batalia, the victim’s sister. “While we can’t bring Maple back, we’re happy to see that the people responsible will now suffer the consequences.”

She said it had been a long wait but the arrests made the waiting worthwhile. “Hopefully we can get some closure which will give us a little peace of mind. We won’t get her back but this will help in the grieving process.”

Batalia grew up in Canada after moving here from India with her family as a baby. She had taken modelling and acting jobs to help pay for her education and had had a small part in the movie Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules.

Her death was particularly shocking because it occurred in such a public place, said RCMP Asst. Commissioner Norm Lipinski.

After Batalia’s death, the campus sent out grief counsellors to help traumatized students who were left with unanswered questions about how a fellow student could be gunned down in a parking lot.

“I knew this day would come,” said Chief Supt. Bill Fordy of the Surrey RCMP detachment. “Every day we commit to ensuring that justice and the rule of law prevails.”

The two suspects are scheduled to appear in court Monday.

Batalia’s family, who said she dreamed of becoming a doctor, has set up a scholarship in her name at Simon Fraser University to help future students studying health sciences.

She was given her unusual first name after her father, Harkirat Batalia, remembered how he had been struck by the vivid autumn colours during a visit to the U.S. one autumn.

He named her Maple before the family even knew they were going to move to Canada from India, he told the Vancouver Sun last year.

Shortly after the murder, police released a surveillance video of a white Dodge Charger leaving the scene. At one point, the RCMP had as many as 50 officers on the case.

thestar.com – News