Oliver man fears feud going too far

Oliver man fears feud going too far


A 20-year-old Oliver man fears that a feud among young people in the community is getting out of hand.
Marty Hooymans said a year-long conflict between Caucasian youth and Indo-Canadian youth in Oliver is endangering him and his friends.
He reported the conflict boiled over on October 20 when he was driving to Okanagan Falls at approximately 2:30 am. He alleged that a Toyota Rav4 rammed the back of his truck and one of the occupants pulled out a gun and started shooting at him. Hooymans stated that one of the bullets hit his truck.
The young man called 9-1-1 and asked for the RCMP to meet him on Eastside Road on the way to Penticton, while the suspect vehicle was still on his tail.
Hooymans said he could see the flashing lights and the roadblock, at which point the suspect vehicle pulled off the road and into a driveway. The occupants then fled on foot, he noted.
Hooymans gave his statement to Penticton RCMP and later noticed the bullet hole in his truck. According to the young man, a police officer agreed the hole was made by a small-calibre bullet.
Hooymans said he was told that police tracked down the suspect vehicle, but the owner denied any wrongdoing.
Hooymans expressed concern for the safety of his friends and what this group will do next.
“My girlfriend is scared . . . she wouldn’t leave the house for two days . . . who knows what else these guys will do.”
According to Hooymans, the conflict began at high school where a group of Indo-Canadian students “had a problem with white kids.” He alleged the group has been chasing his friends around and beating them up with baseball bats.
“I went to the cops, but there was no follow-up,” Hooymans said.
Sergeant Ken Harrington from the Oliver RCMP said there have been no reports of South Asians beating people up in Oliver, and no reports of Caucasians beating up South Asians either. 
“Sometimes people fight.  Some of those people that fight might be Caucasian and some might be South Asian.”
Cate Turner, principal of Southern Okanagan Secondary School, could not be reached for comment.
But Sgt. Rick Dellebuur of the Penticton RCMP said police are still investigating Hooymans’s complaint. But he stated they haven’t been able to substantiate the allegation that shots were fired. The officer noted the mark on Hooymans’s truck has not been confirmed as a bullet hole as there was no penetration.
Dellebuur said a road check was set up and the suspect vehicle pulled off the road, but the occupants ran away. Police identified the car’s owner.
“I don’t think either party is being forward (totally honest) with us,” Dellebuur said. “As far as we can tell, no shots were fired.”
But the officer did acknowledge there is a history of conflict between these youth, stemming back to high school.
And that upsets Jagmel Singh Sira from Oliver’s Sikh Temple.
“I don’t like it. We should respect each other no matter what our creed or colour.”
Sira said they warn their youth not to fight, but to sit down and discuss the problem is someone does them wrong.
“If anyone has a complaint about the Sikh community, we want them to come to the temple (to discuss it).”
Sira said they will try to resolve this conflict among youth, saying “nobody will be spared” regardless of who the instigator is.
Sira acknowledged that a feud existed a year ago, but noted that parents sat down and decreed that there would be no more fighting.
The Sikh elder said Hooymans complaint will be solved peacefully.

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