Ottawa police strike task force to probe unsolved gang killings

The Ottawa Police Service is creating a special task force to investigate all unsolved killings believed to be gang-related, and believes some gang members are responsible for "multiple murders" in the city.

Some gang members suspected in 'multiple murders,' police say

The Ottawa Police Service is creating a special task force to probe all unsolved murders believed to be gang-related, with a focus on those that appear to be linked. (CBC)

The Ottawa Police Service is creating a special task force to investigate all unsolved killings believed to be gang-related, paying special attention to those that appear to be linked.

The force announced Thursday they've added new investigative resources to their major crime section to deal with the near-record number of homicides this year.

"We've had too many people hurt and killed on our streets," said police Chief Charles Bordeleau.

There have been 22 homicides and at least 67 shootings in the capital so far in 2016.

The new task force will consist of investigators from the force's major crime, street crime and guns and gangs units. Their work will focus on unsolved gang homicides that appear to be linked. 

Police say they believe "some of the same individuals are involved in multiple murders in the city," according to a news release issued Thursday.

Police chief Charles Bordeleau says half of the shootings and homicides this year in Ottawa are gang-related. (CBC)

"Our investigative teams have recognized that they're some similarities between the shootings that we've had and the homicides. Approximately half of the shootings that we've had — half the homicides — are gang-related," said Bordeleau, who earlier this week referred to the "disturbing, rapid escalation of violence" in the city.

The announcement of the task force comes one day after policing issues dominated the discussion over Ottawa's 2017 budget, with three councillors voting against the force's spending plan and several others expressing concern over this year's high homicide rate, changes to community policing and speeding in the city's neighbourhoods.

"Success for us, always, is geared towards holding offenders accountable — arresting them, charging them and putting them before the courts," said Bordeleau.