Gang shootings rising in Lowertown, Market police say
In most recent case, man, 24, refused to co-operate after being shot in both legs Sunday morning
The recent string of shootings in Lowertown and the ByWard Market have been targeted, gang-related incidents, said acting guns and gangs unit Staff Sgt. Ken Bryden.
"We do have an idea of which gangs are possibly involved in the gang-related shootings. But at this point, we can't say," he said.
In the most recent shooting, a 24-year-old man refused to give police a statement after he was found shot in both thighs around 2:30 a.m. Sunday morning on George Street.
There have been at least four shootings in Lowertown and the ByWard Market in the past two months, which is "not the norm," but Bryden said the overall number of shootings in Ottawa this year is similar to last.
The unit is investigating 18 shootings so far, on track with the 30 to 35 shootings that Ottawa averages annually, he said. The majority of shootings tend to occur between April and September, and are most commonly in south or east Ottawa, he said.
Bryden said many cases are not solved because victims and witnesses refuse to co-operate with police.
"When you have a person that was directly involved in the incident and has that first-hand account of what took place but doesn't want to tell you about it — makes it extremely difficult," Bryden said.
Police are hoping video surveillance will help identify any suspects in the most recent shooting. No witnesses have come forward.
Residents concerned about safety
About 60 per cent of Lowertown residents feel less safe at night in their own neighbourhood, according to a Lowertown Community Association survey conducted in May.
"People do feel less safe at night and the statistics reflected that," said Liz Bernstein, the president of the association. "But it hasn't impinged anyone from going out and living their lives."
The president of the association said residents want to see extra patrol officers return to Lowertown this summer.