SFU student, actress shot to death in B.C. parking garage
Published Wednesday, September 28, 2011 9:32PM EDT
A 19-year-old actress who had a role in a popular 2011 children's film was shot to death in a parking garage near Simon Fraser University's Surrey campus early Wednesday morning.
RCMP identified the victim as Maple Batalia of Surrey. Batalia was a model and actress, and also a nursing student at SFU.
The shooting happened around 1:10 a.m. when police were dispatched to a parking garage near SFU's Surrey campus.
Witnesses reported hearing multiple shots fired.
Emergency services workers found the young woman on the third floor of the parking garage, suffering from gunshot wounds.
"Two uniformed officers immediately began CPR to do whatever they could to save this young woman's life," Surrey RCMP Sgt. Peter Thiessen said in a statement issued Wednesday.
Emergency crews transported the young woman to a nearby hospital where she succumbed to her injuries. Details about her condition before entering the hospital are not yet known.
Batalia worked as a model and actress. Her most recent role was in "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules," a film based on a best-selling series of children's books.
The girl's father, Harkirat Batalia, said his daughter had gone to school for a late-night study session with her friends.
He was overcome with emotion when speaking to reporters about his daughter.
"I lost my child, I lost my child," Harkirat Batalia said through tears. "God should have taken me instead of my cute darling child. It's all over."
The elder Batalia said his daughter was considering a career in medicine, but also loved being in front of the camera.
Friends and relatives who gathered at the Batalia home called the young woman "special," and said "she was going places."
"Whatever she touched she turned into gold, she was that type of child. If she was my daughter, I would be extremely, extremely proud of her," neighbour Lynn Dovale told CTV British Columbia.
Twenty-five officers are devoted to the case, many of whom spent Wednesday combing the parking garage for evidence. Police dogs were also brought in to help with the search for clues.
Police towed two cars from the scene.
Thiessen said there's no evidence to suggest the murder is linked to drugs or organized crime.
"Investigators are attempting to determine if this is a targeted homicide," he added.
Michelle Cyr, one of the victim's friends, said Batalia had recently broken up with a boyfriend. Batalia's family suggests the shooting was not random, and have an idea of the assailant's identity.
Police haven't revealed whether there are any suspects in the case. Homicide investigators are probing the shooting.
With files from CTV British Columbia's Brent Shearer and Michele Brunoro