Nova Scotia

Gottingen Street community opens up after shooting

People living and working on Gottingen Street in Halifax are opening up about Tuesday night's shooting that left a 23-year-old man dead and a 31-year-old man being badly injured.

Resident heard five to six gunshots before taking pictures from his window

Michael Karanicolas captured this image Tuesday night. He says police arrived shortly after shots were fired. (Michael Karanicolas)

Michael Karanicolas has travelled to Afghanistan and other troubled areas of the world, but Tuesday night on Gottingen Streeet in Halifax was the closest he'd ever come to gunfire.

Karanicolas was on his way to bed just before 11 p.m. when he heard gunshots below his window.

"About five to six in very, very quick succession," he said.

Michael Karanicolas says Tuesday night was the closest he's ever been to a shooting. (CBC)

Karanicolas's condo is directly across the street from where an SUV slammed into a small tree. The two people inside, police say, had been shot. He ran to his window and started photographing what he saw.

"The driver was very badly injured," he recalls. "He seemed very badly injured when he was taken away. He was very loud. So clearly there was a problem there."

A 23-year-old-man from Dartmouth was pronounced dead at the scene. A 31-year-old-man originally from Halifax was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. His condition improved Wednesday.

Police 'screaming at everyone'

Karanicolas says several people came running toward the black SUV — some offering to help. Moments later police arrived. They were tense, yelling, and had their guns drawn.

"Screaming at everyone on the ground and arrested the people that had come to help."

For Karanicolas, it was as close as he'd come to gunfire, and he's come close before.

Michael Karanicolas took photos of the crime scene from his home. (Michael Karanicolas)

"I've been to Afghanistan. I've been to Palestine. I've been to Lebanon and I've been to Pakistan very recently so I've heard gunfire before. I've been in tense situations. The funny thing is though, this is closest I've ever been to gunfire despite having been to a lot of tense spots around the world."

By daylight Wednesday, the 2000 block of Gottingen Street was still a crime scene. Yellow tape cordoned off a large section of the district that in recent years has been transformed by a small-business renaissance.

'Committed to the neighbourhood'

David Graham is a business owner on Gottingen Street. (CBC)

One of those new business owners, David Graham, came to work this morning like it was just another day.

"We're committed to the neighbourhood," he said. "We're committed to the people we serve across Atlantic Canada so, you know, we're not shying away from living and working here."

A Saint Francis Xavier University alumus, Graham couldn't help but recall a conversation he had not too long ago with Tyler Richards.

Richards was murdered Sunday night in the city's west end — a murder police believe could be connected to the shooting on Gottingen Street.

'Business goes on'

"[Richards] noticed that I shared the connection with St. FX with him," Graham recalled.  

"We chatted a while about his experience there and how much it meant to him and how much he enjoyed playing ball at St. FX and how much he enjoyed playing for the Rainmen."

Kathleen Healy, owner of The Nook, a coffee shop, says her staff came to work on Wednesday comforted, at least, by the fact the shooting wasn't a random act.

She said her thoughts go out to the family and friends of the victims.

"This is an amazing, beautiful community and the loss of life is tragic," Healy said, adding that as a business owner, her main concern was making sure all her staff got home OK.

"Honestly, business goes on. Life as usual. Unfortunately, it's a realism of the world we live in now," she said.

"We're asking now, how do we begin to change that? We very much want to be a part of that discussion, not only with our fellow business owners, but with everyone who makes up this vibrant community."

About the Author

Preston Mulligan has been a reporter in the Maritimes for more than 20 years. Along with his reporting gig, he also hosts CBC Radio's Sunday phone-in show, Maritime Connection.