Edmonton police issue warrants for suspect in 3 shootings linked to extortion series

Canada-wide warrants have been issued for a 19-year-old man who Edmonton police believe is connected to an ongoing extortion file.

Police believe the man fled to India after allegedly being involved in three drive-by shootings linked to the extortion series.

Police are seeking Arjun Sahnan, 19. Police also said they are looking for a second suspect in one of the three shootings.

All three shootings happened in December 2023, one in Edmonton, one in Sherwood Park and one in Winnipeg. They are part of “Project Gaslight,” an Edmonton police investigation into 34 events in an ongoing extortion series targeting the South Asian community in the Edmonton region since October.

The first drive-by shooting happened at 2:50 a.m. on Dec. 21, 2023, in Edmonton’s Cy Becker neighbourhood. Police said shots were fired at an upstairs window of a home. Police said six people, including two children, were in the home at the time.

Story continues below advertisement

The second shooting happened at 8:45 p.m. on Dec. 24, 2023, at a home in northwest Winnipeg. One bullet went into a bedroom, just missing a person inside the room, police said.

The bullet continued through another wall and into an adjacent room that was empty. Police said several people were home at the time of the shooting, which was caught on security cameras in the area. The suspect vehicle in this case is a black SUV with no front licence plate, which is mandatory in Manitoba.

Police are also asking the public for any information about a second suspect linked to the Winnipeg shooting. Surveillance photos of the man were released by police on Tuesday.

Edmonton police seek information about a second suspect in a drive-by shooting in Winnipeg, Man., linked to an extortion investigation in Edmonton.
Edmonton police seek information about a second suspect in a drive-by shooting in Winnipeg, linked to an extortion investigation in Edmonton. Courtesy / EPS
Edmonton police seek information about a second suspect in a drive-by shooting in Winnipeg, Man., linked to an extortion investigation in Edmonton.
Another image of the second suspect in a Winnipeg drive-by shooting, who has been linked to an extortion investigation in Edmonton. Courtesy / EPS

Police said in the Edmonton and Winnipeg shootings, the homeowner was extorted for money and threatened prior to the shooting. No one was injured in either shooting, according to police.

Story continues below advertisement

The third shooting happened just after 1 a.m. on Dec. 29, 2023, in the Fountain Creek neighbourhood of Sherwood Park, east of Edmonton. One bullet went through a window and into a children’s playroom, striking a toybox. No one was injured.

The email you need for the day’s top news stories from Canada and around the world.

Police said the suspect was caught on security cameras in the area. In this case, police said the homeowner was not threatened before the shooting. Officers believe the shooter accidentally targeted the wrong house.

Police said the same gun was used in all three shootings.

Click to play video: 'Several videos released of suspects in extortion of Edmonton’s South Asian community'

Several videos released of suspects in extortion of Edmonton’s South Asian community

Canada-wide warrants have been issued for Arjun Sahnan, 19.

Sahnan was previously arrested on five firearm-related charges during a Dec. 30, 2023 vehicle stop. Staff Sgt. Eric Stewart, with the EPS guns and gangs section, said Sahnan was charged and released on bail.

Story continues below advertisement

The Edmonton Police Service’s firearms investigations unit has determined Sahnan has since fled to India. He left on a flight that he booked prior to the shootings in Winnipeg and Sherwood Park, police allege.

“Our firearms investigation unit is a sophisticated team with the resources to investigate these complex files, regardless of where the offences take place,” said Stewart.

“Committing gun crime in other provinces and fleeing the country will not prevent us from charging a suspect and holding them accountable.”

More on Crime

Additionally, police said Tuesday that search warrants were executed on April 24, 2024, in connection with a drive-by shooting in the Cy Becker neighbourhood on Jan. 10, 2024. One person was arrested, but police did not release further information about the suspect. Police said officers are still working to locate the gun used in this shooting.

Investigators have previously said these extortion incidents are being orchestrated by someone in India.

“There is an individual orchestrating and directing young men in our city to carry out these acts,” Stewart reiterated Tuesday. “In my opinion, they’re being exploited to carry out these acts and someone who is not in this country is benefiting from that.

“The message is pretty clear: if you’re going to commit one of these offences and you’re going to work for this individual, understand the consequences that follow.”

Story continues below advertisement

Anyone with information on the suspect or the shootings can contact Edmonton police at 780-391-4279 or via projectgaslight@edmontonpolice.ca. Anonymous information can be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or p3tips.com.

&© 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.