Co-op Village Square gas station shooting possibly linked to organized crime
Drug trade infighting could be behind 'brazen acts of violence,' say police
Police say a shooting at a Co-op gas bar in northeast Calgary Wednesday night was a targeted attack and may be connected to other violent incidents in the city recently.
It occurred around 7:30 p.m. MT at the Co-op Village Square Centre in the 2500 block of 52nd Street N.E.
At least three shots were fired from a rifle, two hitting the driver of a car and a third bullet smashing the front entrance of the grocery store. The driver's passenger was not injured.
Police say the 24-year-old victim managed to drive himself to Peter Lougheed hospital after receiving a minor wound to his arm. He has been treated and released, but is being interviewed by police.
Abraham Zaid was pumping gas when it happened.
“I saw an SUV come in and fire three shots, maybe at a car, maybe in the east direction. So it was scary, really scary, my life flashed in three seconds,” said the 15-year-old.
Acting Insp. Steve Drennan says it's a very busy area and it was pure luck that no one was hit by a stray bullet. He says police are trying to determine a motive and whether the shooting was connected to an incident in Rundle.
"Both the victim and the offenders in that drive-by shooting from New Year's are involved in the drug trade, organized crime drug trade, so there is some sort of dispute that's internal to this group. My belief is it doesn't go beyond this internal squabble that's happening in this group," he said.
3 other shootings possibly linked
Drennan said they are also looking into connections with overnight shootings in Whitehorn and Temple last weekend, but stressed they do not believe the New Year's Day shooting in Killarney is related. He said the group under investigation does not have a name, but is connected primarily through cocaine trafficking.
The gang unit has been conducting "suppression activities," such as knocking on doors of people under court-ordered curfews.
Drennan says it was a "brazen act of violence" that raises serious issues for public safety. He says the Co-op was very busy at the time of the shooting.
“I think a shooting at any of our neighbourhoods in Calgary is of great concern for the citizens of Calgary as well as the police service,” said acting Duty Insp. Paul Magnus.
“Any time that’s happening we’re taking great care in trying to arrest the individuals involved.”
The guns and gang unit is leading this investigation and is reviewing surveillance footage obtained from the scene.
"Members of the community have information that will assist in finding the person or persons responsible and preventing further incidents of violence," said Drennan.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Calgary police at 403-266-1234 or Calgary Crime Stoppers.