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NRI student, 17, beaten to death in Toronto by Italian teens

Toronto, October 17, 2005

NRI, (non-resident Indians) Pritpaul Singh Dhanoa of Vaughan (outskirts of Toronto) was beaten to death on Saturday night by Italian teen agers, after being involved in an altercation between two groups of young people. Mr. Dhanoa, in fact, had fallen out of a moving vehicle while chasing the rival group during that altercation. He sustained his fatal head injuries at that time.

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Teen dies after brawlIndian, Italian youths clash in Woodbridge park

Sun, October 16, 2005

York Regional Police forensic officers go over the scene in Giovanni Caboto Park where Pritpaul "Paul" Singh Dhanoa was fatally injured. (Dave Thomas/Sun)
WOODBRIDGE -- A 17-year-old honour student died yesterday following a violent clash in a park, part of a summer-long dispute sparked by a racial slur.

Pritpaul "Paul" Singh Dhanoa was pronounced dead at St. Michael's Hospital after suffering severe head trauma around 11 p.m. Friday.

York Region detectives aren't sure if the Grade 12 Woodbridge College High School student was beaten, hit by an SUV or stumbled during the melee and banged his head.

Dhanoa was killed in a violent clash in which Indian teens are alleged to have attacked Italian teens hanging out in Giovanni Caboto Park in the Hwy. 7-Pine Valley Dr. area, possibly to settle a score over a racial slur hurled at them in August.

The number of teens involved varied widely, between 15 and 50. Witnesses said attackers were armed with sticks, bottles and gardening tools.

"We were driving by and we saw these guys yelling, with sticks in their hands," said a teen girl. "They were picking up a body and putting him into a car.

"They were saying, 'Call 911.'"

Police said Dhanoa was put in a car and driven to a nearby mall where a call for an ambulance was made.

Friends of the opposing youths aren't sympathetic to the victim.

"I have no remorse whatsoever," said a 17-year-old hanging out at Jiffy's Plaza at the corner of Chancellor and Fiori Drs., across the street from the park.

"They don't have respect for us," he said, adding his younger brother had been a victim of previous attacks. "If I was here, I would have been in the back of the cruiser. Every Friday for the last four Fridays, they came here."

"We come here to chill, they came to fight," said another teen, who says retaliation is likely and who now fears the other group will return with firearms.

"If they come back with guns, their families are going to die," added another youth.

The dispute reportedly began over a blaring car alarm during the Aug. 1 long weekend at the small corner strip mall, according to a number of teens, none of whom wanted to be named.

A girl who was there said the alarm was accidentally triggered by one group and another group, apparently drunk, rudely told them to turn it off. Words were exchanged and some girls who were there responded with a racial epithet.

Tempers flared and clashes, both minor and serious, continued during the summer, the teens said. Police had stepped up patrols and ticketed teens for trespassing on mall property.

On Friday, one group of teens stormed the park, attacking the other.

One teen said his girlfriend was in the park when the rush of teens swarmed in. "They were going nuts," he said. "They surrounded my girlfriend. She's crying."

She managed to escape to the mall to get him, but he too found himself outnumbered.

Suddenly, police arrived and everybody scattered.

"I saw cop after cop after cop," he said. "I don't know what happened (to Dhanoa). We were running away. We were all running, we didn't know what to do."

Police are looking for an SUV or Jeep-type vehicle that was seen in the area and that may have been damaged.

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