The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) says a man has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of 13-year-old Marrisa Shen.
Ibrahim Ali, 28, has been charged in connection with Shen’s murder in July of 2017. He was arrested on Sept. 7 in Burnaby and will appear in court next on Friday.
IHIT Supt. Donna Richardson said Ali has no criminal record.
“Prior to us having contact with this individual, he was not known to us, the police environment.”
IHIT said this is believed to be a random homicide.
“We still believe that this crime was a random act, meaning that Marrisa did not know the suspect and vice versa,” Richardson said.
“Beyond that, as far as motive is concerned and some of the details surrounding our operational techniques in identifying persons of interest or confirming suspects, I am not able to discuss these matters in order to protect our future judicial proceedings.”
IHIT said Ali arrived in Canada as a refugee and has lived in Burnaby for 17 months.
“He was a Syrian national,” Richardson said. “It’s our understanding that he is a permanent resident.”
The Immigrant Services Society (ISS) of B.C. said Ali could have come to the province through several routes, privately sponsored by family or church or as a refugee claimant through the government.
“We’re not aware of him yet; I can’t confirm how he came to Canada,” ISS director of settlement services Chris Friesen told CKNW.
He acknowledged Ali’s Syrian background will raise questions around Canada’s vetting process.
“All Syrian refugees undertook both a criminal record background check as well as a medical examination,” Friesen added.
“We understand and are concerned about perceptions that are around one horrific incident, that it whitewashes an entire community.”
B.C. has accepted about 3,500 Syrian refugees since 2015.
Always worried about the Muslim refugees, not a word about yet another of their victims.