The gangster said to have ordered the 2011 shooting outside Kelowna’s Delta Grand Hotel sent out a celebratory message to an associate in the aftermath, despite having missed his mark.
“I got a zap from Sukh Dhak and the first thing he said was ‘Congratulations’ then, ‘LOL, go have a drink,’” said a witness in the trial for three men charged in the murder of Jonathan Bacon, explaining that a “zap” is a text message.
The witness, whose name is protected under a publication ban, continued to get more messages from the higher echelons of B.C.’s underworld on an encrypted BlackBerry as that day unfolded.
Manjinder (Manny) Hairan, who was believed to be part of the group charged in the killing of Bacon, wrote the witness soon after Dhak, asking “how many” had been killed. Both Dhak and Hairan were killed in the years following these events.
Larry Amero, a Hells Angel, had been the target of the shooting and was shot in the face, wrist and chest. He lived, but Bacon, the leader of the Red Scorpions died at the scene. Leah Hadden-Watts was shot in the neck and rendered a paraplegic, Lyndsey Black was shot through both upper legs. James Riach escaped injury.
The details of who lived and died hadn’t been made public in the hours after the shooting, and the witness told the court Monday he didn’t remember what his reply to Hairan had been. He did, however, recall getting another message that night from Hairan asking, “what, are you scared now?”
Later, again, he was told the BlackBerry he had been issued by the Dhak was going to be shut down by the evening, and he was asked to bring the phone to Surrey, where Dhak lived.
When he arrived in Surrey a week later, he noted that Jujhar Khun-Khun —one of the men on trial— was at the house when he and Dhak went for a walk to have a discussion.
Monday’s testimony ended right as he was going to share the details of that conversation with Dhak.
His testimony up to that point offered the court first-person insight into the lives of those involved in a Lower Mainland gang war that played out in the Okanagan six years ago — a first for the trial.
He spent most of Monday telling the court how each of the accused and several other high profile gangsters worked together in an effort that culminated in Bacon’s murder.
Although he never claimed to have insight into the intentions of all the men who arrived in Kelowna in the week before the shooting, his testimony plotted out the movements of Khun-Khun, Jason McBride and Michael Jones, who are each on trial for one murder charge, and four attempted murder charges.
His testimony started with McBride, who was referred to as “Jay” and “White Boy.”
Around a week before the shooting, he said, McBride’s green Ford Explorer broke down and he was asked by Dhak to arrange for a tow and fix.
He met up with McBride in the North End and had the truck towed to a mechanic friend’s house in the Westside. Days later it was fixed and he dropped it off. At that time, McBride was with Jones.
Two days prior to the shooting he saw them again.
He and another man were driving around Kelowna’s downtown and they saw McBride, who waved them over. They pulled over on either “Coronation or Cawston” and they all got out of the car.
McBride asked the witness if he’d seen Amero’s white Porsche Cayenne. He hadn’t and the conversation came to an end.
A day later he did see the Porsche, as well as all its passengers.
“I was getting gas at the Chevron on Spall and Highway 97,” he said. “I was driving my Escalade and (his friend) was in his BMW.”
From his position, he spotted the group that became infamous in the shooting.
“I seen Jon Bacon get out … he was standing beside the Porsche smoking,” he said.
The group had ordered Triple O’s and when their order arrived, Bacon got in the car.
“(Amero) saw I was staring and he pulled up to my Escalade and stared at me‚ that’s it, he stared at me,” he said. “Then he put it in reverse and pulled out.”
He claimed he never told Dhak about the encounter, but the next day he was tasked with looking for Amero.
He and a couple friends had gone to Penticton for a night out, and were called by Dhak to return to West Kelowna to put up some associates, who at that time were unknown.
“We were not happy about it but it wasn’t out of the ordinary for (Dhak) to throw a curveball into our plans,” he said.
When he got to the Central Okanagan, he met with Hairan, Khun-Khun, Jones and McBride. They talked briefly, ate ice cream, and went separate ways.
The next day was the shooting, and the witness said he stumbled upon it by chance. He arrived just in time to see Amero bloodied and shaking on the ground next to his Porsche.
The narrative supports what Crown counsel Dave Ruse laid out when the trial began in May.