St. John's shooting 'not random,' says RNC chief

As the victim of a shooting in a St. John's west end neighbourhood remains in hospital in stable condition, police are continuing their hunt for the shooter and the weapon.
RNC Chief Robert Johnston speaks with Debbie Cooper 4:54

Police continue to hunt for a suspect and weapon following a shooting in a west end St. John's neighbourhood last Sunday.

A 21-year-old man was shot outside a house on Boyle Street around 11 p.m. He was rushed to hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

"We know it wasn't a random attack," said Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Chief Robert Johnston. 

"We know the individuals probably went there because they knew who were probably in the house."

Busy spot

Neighbours told CBC they heard yelling and fighting, then a loud bang. They also said people come and go frequently from the house, usually late at night.

Police said the victim lived in the house, but that the shooter was someone who showed up that night.

By Wednesday, yellow police tape around the area had been removed.

Johnston said a full team of investigators is working on the case.

Little danger to public

He said, though, that the general public IS most likely not in danger as a result of the incident.

"I think the individuals who went to that house that evening weren't just randomly selecting a house," said Johnston.

He did acknowledge, however, that gun-related incidents are occurring more frequently in the city.

"We have seen some increase in gun activity, particularly when we talk about people who are involved in the drug trade," said Johnston.

The scene of the shooting was quiet on Wednesday. (CBC)

"That does worry me, but for the public often these individuals are fighting amongst themselves."

Johnston said dealing with such crime is a complex issue, and the RNC has been talking with provincial officials about issues related to enforcing the law, such as mental health, addictions, and community supports.

He said in the meantime the RNC and the RCMP in this province are equipped to deal with the challenges associated with crimes like the Boyle Street shooting.

"We're up to the task of taking this on."