Nfld. & Labrador

Wrong house struck in drug-related drive-by shooting

Friday night's shooting on an otherwise quiet street in a new St. John's subdivision was the result of a feud between rival drug dealers.

St. John's police chief says shooting linked to suspected firebombing

Dauntless shooting

10 years ago
Duration 10:56
RNC Chief Robert Johnston talks about the possible connections between the Dauntless Street shooting, a firebombing on Hamilton Ave, and biker gangs

Friday night's shooting on an otherwise quiet street in a new St. John's subdivision was the result of a feud between rival drug dealers, but the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary says the suspect shot up the wrong house.

RNC Chief Robert Johnston said Monday the shooting on Dauntless Street is connected to a suspected firebombing early Friday morning on Hamilton Avenue. 

Speaking with reporters, Johnston said an assault rifle was used in Friday's shooting, in which two houses and three vehicles were damaged shortly before midnight.

Johnston said police determined the shooter stopped at the wrong house and that the people who live there have no connection to the drug trade.

"I can say, clearly and completely and unequivocally, those people are just like the rest of us," Johnston said. 

"It's a targeted event, but they targeted the wrong house. There's no question about that."

Sources said an AK-47 assault rifle was used to spray a home on Dauntless Street with bullets.

Johnston would not confirm that detail, but said the investigation shows that the shooting is connected to the drug trade.

Bullets struck the garage door of a house on Dauntless Street. (CBC)

"I do believe that the backdrop of this is motivated by criminal activity and drugs," he said.

Johnston said the RNC will not tolerate the escalation of violence between players in the local drug trade.

Police are also investigating possible links to mainland biker gangs, particularly the Hells Angels.

Homeowner heard shots

Kenneth Neil was having a quiet night at home with friends when someone sprayed his house and his car with bullets.

"I was home, I was just sitting inside watching TV," Neil said, when he heard a couple of loud bangs.

"Originally I just thought it was my dad coming home, and banging on the side of the house, because they were in Florida, getting back from vacation," he said.

"We came out because it was pretty loud, and my buddy came down and he just looked and he saw the air coming out of the tires."

Neil said that at first they thought someone had stabbed the tires.

"Then I looked and saw the bullet holes in the trucks, and I was like, 'Oh, it's a little more serious than that.' So I went back inside and waited for the cops to come."

Neighbourhood on edge

The drive-by shooting has shaken up neighbours in the new Kenmount Terrace area.

George Snook initially didn't think he was hearing gunshots in his neighbourhood filled with modern, high-end homes.

"I was just closing my bedroom blinds, getting ready to go to bed, and I heard this, 'Bang, bang, bang.' About five times, six times, I don't know what," he said.

"I thought it was somebody on my front steps."

Snook said his neighbours in the wrongly targeted house must be feeling tense.

"I'm sure if it was my house they shot at, I would be quite nervous."

Arson investigation continues

Meanwhile, an arson investigation continues into a fire that destroyed a Mercedes-Benz and a motorcycle parked outside a house on Hamilton Avenue early Friday morning.

That fire, which the police have said is suspicious, started in or near the car around 3:30 a.m. on Friday.

No one was hurt in the fire, which heavily damaged the house as well as the exterior of a nearby home.

With files from David Cochrane and Lee Pitts