Police released this image in 2015, showing a suspect in the back seat of a Chrysler Sebring aiming a pellet gun out an open window.

Police released this image in 2015, showing a suspect in the back seat of a Chrysler Sebring aiming a pellet gun out an open window.

Trial underway for man charged with pellet-gun attacks in Abbotsford

Harpreet Vaid before the courts on 14 charges from July 2015

Nine people who were injured in a series of pellet-gun attacks in Abbotsford in July 2015 were scheduled to testify this week at the trial for the man charged with the incidents.

The judge-only trial for Harpreet Vaid, 23, began Monday in Abbotsford provincial court and is expected to conclude early next week.

Vaid is before the courts on seven counts of assault with a weapon and seven counts of discharging a firearm with intent to wound.

The random attacks occurred on July 26 and 27, 2015 across Abbotsford, with people shot while walking down the street. Car and house windows were also targeted and shattered.

At the time of the incidents, police said several of the victims reported that the shots had come from a dark-coloured vehicle. Some witnesses reported a single male driver, while others said two people were in the car.

Police later released a photo – taken from video footage – showing a suspect in the back of a Chrysler Sebring aiming a pellet gun out an open window.

Charges against Vaid were announced in September 2015.

On the first day of the trial, Crown lawyer Rob Mcgowan said the evidence against Vaid is circumstantial and the challenge will be to prove that Vaid was the actual shooter because more than one person was in the vehicle.

But Mcgowan said it was Vaid’s vehicle that was used and, within days of the assaults, he traded in the car at a dealership.

Mcgowan said police then seized the vehicle and found inside it hundreds of BBs – the lead pellets fired from the type of gun involved.

Among the witnesses to testify on Monday were two young men who were 15 at the time of the attacks.

The pair said they had been walking along Hopedale Avenue – just west of Clearbrook Road – with a third friend on the afternoon of July 26, 2015, when a car slowed down beside them and a pellet gun was fired in their direction.

One of the friends was struck twice – in his back and side – and was left with welts and some bleeding.

“I was scared and pretty shaken up … I remember that I was kind of in shock,” he testified.

Another witness was a young woman who was 17 at the time of the attacks. She said she had been walking along Maclure Road near Rotary Stadium when a pellet gun was fired from a passing vehicle, resulting in her being hit in the forearm.

She described hearing laughter coming from more than one person in the vehicle.

The three witnesses testified that the shots had come from a dark-coloured car, but defence lawyer Ken Beatch challenged their recollections about the type of car they thought was involved and whether the shots had come from a vehicle at all.

All three said they did not get a look at the assailant, and were not sure from which car window the shots had been fired.

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