Nova Scotia

Clayton Park shooting an 'execution', says witness

A man who says he saw a gunman kill John Newcombe said it's lucky more people weren't killed in the shocking incident.

A man says he witnessed murder of John Newcombe Friday morning

John Newcombe was a tattoo artist in the Halifax area. (CBC)

A man who says he saw a gunman kill John Newcombe said it's lucky more people weren't killed in the shocking incident.

Newcombe was leaving Winston's Pub in Clayton Park around 2 a.m. Friday morning when he was shot. The 27-year-old tattoo artist died at the scene.

About 10 meters away, a man said he was sitting in his car when he saw the whole scene unravel.

The man's identity is being withheld for his safety.

"There was a gentleman — the victim — who was standing outside of Winston's, and there was another gentleman standing in the alleyway between Winston's Bar and the hair salon," he said.

The witness said the second man raised a gun, and he saw five flashes.

"My first instinct was 'hit the deck,'" he said. "I saw the gentleman hit the ground, I heard the ricochet. I saw the perpetrator run off down the alley toward Willett, and after that it was just chaotic. Everyone came outside."

According to the witness, a woman was standing between the shooter and the victim. He believes she was in shock, and repeatedly said Newcombe was ok.

"There were two people that ended up catching him and guiding him to the ground," he said.

The next few moments were chaos, according to the witness. Several bouncers came out and the man raced over to the victim, but nothing could be done to save Newcombe.

"He was 27 years old, and he didn't deserve this fate," the man said.

There has been speculation about what motivated the shooting and Halifax Regional Police have said it was not random. They said the victim was targeted but haven't said why.

This is the second shooting death in Halifax in a week. Another man died after being shot on Clifton Street.

The witness said it's time for the violence to stop.

"There's always fights outside of bars and Winston's. It's nothing new. But for someone to be — for lack of a better word — executed right in front of you, it's very bothersome."

The witness said the police need to start patrolling outside of the bars when they close, including Winston's.

Police investigating

Meanwhile, Halifax Regional Police are asking other witnesses to come forward.

"We don't have a suspect," said Const. Brian Palmeter. "We don't have enough information that we're even able to put out a description."

Palmeter said the police are also trying to find out more information about arguments that may have occurred before the shooting.

One witness told CBC News she believed the shooting was linked to a brawl one month before, but Palmeter said it's too soon to draw any conclusions.

"At this point we don't know the motive behind it," he said.

"We're looking to speak with family and friends, anyone with information as to why John would have been shot, who had a dispute with him that would end up with the magnitude of his death."