A Boxing Day shooting outside an Ottawa outlet mall that sent one man to hospital is believed to be "infighting" among members of the same gang, police told CBC News.
Two men in their late 20s were arrested after the afternoon shooting near the Adidas and Polo Ralph Lauren stores at Tanger Outlets. Both were released without being charged but they remain persons of interest in the case, Staff-Sgt. Ken Bryden told CBC News.
Police also said the victim, a man in his late 20s who was shot a single time in the foot, "has been uncooperative" with investigators. Bryden said all three men are believed to be part of the Crips gang.
"[This is] very surprising and very concerning. It goes to show the brazen violence these guys are displaying. We are confident this is a targeted shooting," Bryden said.
Investigators with the guns and gangs unit are reviewing surveillance video from the mall and continue to search for two more suspects.
Police continue to interview witnesses. Anyone with information is asked to contact police.
After the Friday afternoon shooting, mall management closed stores around 6 p.m. "in support of and out of compassion for the employees currently working," according to police.
Tanger Outlets reopened for business on Saturday morning. General manager Eric Topolnisky told CBC News that extra security guards will patrol the mall for the rest of the holidays to make shoppers and staff feel safe.
Police warned of turf wars after recent gang arrests
Earlier in December, Ottawa police warned of possible gang turf wars after the arrest of several high-level gang members, including some Crips members.
Police made 27 arrests and laid 254 charges between June and November relating to gang activity and organized crime. Police also seized guns and drugs.
"Removing persons like that, that have power, if you will, does have a huge impact," Bryden said after the announcement of the arrests on December 15.
"It's inevitable that the processes they already had in place to do what they had to do will find themselves again."
4 leg shooting cases
Ottawa police have investigated at least four incidents in which men were shot in the leg over the summer.
- July 21: A man called police to report he had been shot in the lower left leg on Ritchie Street near Carling Avenue in the city's west end.
- July 17: A man in his 20s was shot twice in the legs on Horsdal Private, a short street near Conroy and Hunt Club roads in the city's south end. He refused to give a statement about the shooting, police said.
- July 1: A man went to the Ottawa Hospital around 3:30 a.m. with gunshot wounds to each leg but refused to disclose where the shooting happened, police said.
- June 22: A 24-year-old man refused to provide a statement after being shot in each thigh in the ByWard Market around 2:30 a.m., police said.