Execution of a gangster outside a busy Vancouver restaurant was carefully planned: court documents

The man who killed Harpreet Singh Dhaliwal in a brazen execution-style murder outside a busy Vancouver restaurant last year planned the murder weeks in advance, settling in an Airbnb to “track” the victim “for the purpose of killing him.” . ”, according to court documents.

Francois Joseph Gauthier pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in June this year and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 20 years. The judges sentencing decision was posted online on Wednesday, shedding more light on the murder.


On April 17, 2021, Dhaliwal was approaching Cardero’s restaurant with his brothers and another person when he was shot.

“He was shot in the back numerous times, including twice in the back of the head, and was pronounced dead less than two hours later. His body had ten wounds, consistent with bullet entry; nine bullets were found in his body. “said the judge. Heather Holmes told the court.

“When Mr. Dhaliwal was shot, his brother and the other man who was with them chased after and caught Mr. Gauthier, stabbing him multiple times before running back to Mr. Dhaliwal’s location. Mr. Gauthier was seriously injured. injured but was able to walk to a yard near Broughton and West Pender Streets, where he collapsed and was found shortly thereafter.”

The judge said Gauthier was seriously injured and hospitalized for six days. He also noted that no charges were filed.

Police later described the killing as targeted and later linked it to the Lower Mainland gang conflict, which claimed 15 lives in the first five months of that year.

Holmes mentioned that in his decision, saying little was told to the court about Dhaliwal during the sentencing process, and his family declined to make any victim impact statements.

“He was believed to be involved in the criminal gang lifestyle, more specifically the Brothers Keepers gang,” he wrote. “That association, if it was the case, was unfortunate in the extreme.”


The judge considered that the careful planning of the murder was an aggravating factor. A search of Airbnb found a “small arsenal” of weapons, four different BC license plates, four cell phones, seven SIM cards, two GPS tracking devices and a “sophisticated silicone face mask,” the court heard. When Gauthier was found after the murder, he had an extra cell phone and tracker.

“Mr. Gauthier’s intent to track down and kill Mr. Dhaliwal was also revealed through an examination of two of the cell phones,” Holmes wrote, adding that information about Cardero was part of the evidence uncovered through this search. .

Gauthier also, the judge said, changed his shirt and hat after leaving his Airbnb and before shooting Dhaliwal.

“He agrees that he did it to alter his appearance and hide his identity.”

He was wearing a face mask and gloves when he shot Dhaliwal and used a silencer on his .22 caliber semi-automatic pistol.


The judge also pointed to Gauthier’s criminal record in both Canada and the US as an aggravating factor, saying the 53-year-old had “spent a very significant portion of his adult life in prison.”

The public nature of the shooting was another factor.

“Gun crime is a matter of great concern in the community, and this took place in a public place that was expected to be busy with people of all ages enjoying life as they expect and have a right to,” Holmes wrote. .

“People dining at Cardero’s, or casual passers-by there or on the busy boardwalk nearby, will have been spooked to varying degrees, some with lasting effects.”

However, Gauthier’s early admission of a guilty plea was something that Holmes considered mitigating because it had the effect of preventing many witnesses, including children, from reliving the traumatic event by testifying.


In July 2022, Dhaliwal’s brother, Meninder, was one of two men killed in a daylight shooting outside a hotel in Whistler, in an area popular with tourists and families.

After Harpreet’s murder, Meninder’s name and photo were included in a police public safety advisory that listed 10 other known gangsters.

“Police believe that anyone in close proximity to these individuals may be putting themselves at risk,” the province’s Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit said in its statement.

“CFSEU-BC is issuing a public warning and targeting them for family, friends, associates and the public to take steps to increase their own personal safety.”

The third Dhaliwal brother, Barinder, was also on that list.

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