2 dead, 1 injured after shootout in ByWard Market

Two people are dead and one is injured after a shooting in Ottawa's ByWard Market area early Saturday morning, the province's Special Investigations Unit said.

Ontario's Special Investigations Unit called in to investigate police-involved shooting

An Ottawa Police Service officer stands guard on Dalhousie Street on June 3, 2017, near the scene of a fatal shooting in the city's ByWard Market district. (Matthew Kupfer/CBC)

A suspect exchanged gunfire with an Ottawa police officer early Saturday morning in a case that ended with two dead and one injured. 

The Ontario Special Investigations Unit said it is investigating the police-involved shooting in Ottawa's ByWard Market in which "several shots" were fired. 

Jason Gennaro, a spokesperson for the police oversight agency, told reporters an Ottawa police officer driving in the market area responded to the intersection of Dalhousie and Clarence streets shortly after 2 a.m. Saturday where a man had been injured in a shooting.

That victim is now in hospital with non life-threatening injuries.

The responding officer attempted to arrest the suspect, but the man fled, Gennaro said. Moments later, another man, a 43-year-old, was shot. He was rushed to hospital where he was pronounced dead. 

The same officer chased the sole suspect into a parking garage on Murray Street, east of Dalhousie Street, where the two exchanged several rounds of gunfire. The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene. 

The police officer involved in the shooting was not injured, Gennaro said. 

The shooting took place in a popular market and tourism district, just a few blocks from Parliament Hill. People who work at businesses along Dalhousie were being told that the street would likely remain closed all day. 

The SIU investigation is in its preliminary stages and is focused on the shooting in the garage that ended in the suspect's death, according to Gennaro. 

Police have not identified any of the victims or the suspect. 

An Ottawa police officer, left, and two Special Investigations Unit officers examine a crime scene in the ByWard Market on Saturday, June 3, 2017 where two people were killed and another man injured. (Matthew Kupfer/CBC)

'I saw blood on the floor'

Tareq Savari told CBC News he witnessed the aftermath of the shootings and the first responders rushing to the scene. 

"I heard some gunshot and I was telling my friends, 'It's a gunshot.' He told me 'No, it's a firework.' Literally 30 seconds or 40 seconds later I see the cops parking their cars and running from Clarence to Dalhousie," Savari said.

He said he saw several people surround one of the shooting victims, but he wasn't sure who it was. 

"I saw blood on the floor, on the sidewalk, but when they put him in the corner they were holding his blood. There was a lot of people around him."

10 officers assigned to investigate shooting

The SIU is called in whenever there is an incident involving police that results in a death, serious injury, or an allegation of sexual assault. The oversight body is responsible for determining if the officer involved committed a criminal offence. 

Ten officers with the SIU will take over the investigation into the deadly shootings: three investigators and seven forensic investigators. One Ottawa police officer is the subject of the investigation and the SIU also identified two witness officers from city police. 

The police watchdog is asking anyone with video footage of the shootings to upload it to the SIU website to assist investigators. 

Ottawa police investigate in the ByWard Market after two people were killed in a shooting overnight. (CBC)

Police tape was strung up along Dalhousie Street, which remained closed Saturday between Murray and Clarence streets.

'Tragic' shooting

Mathieu Fleury, the city councillor for the area, said Saturday afternoon his thoughts are with those who are affected by the overnight shootings.

In a written statement to CBC News, Fleury said the incident "is reflective of the drug and gang activity across our city."

Neither the SIU or Ottawa police have said Saturday's shooting is drug- or gang-related.

"An incident of this nature is tragic and my thoughts are with those who have been impacted by this late night events. While there is no immediate threat to the public, I understand the Special Investigation Unit continues to investigate the scene," the councillor said.

"We await more detailed information to come to light. The ByWard Market is the historical area in our city, it is a gem."

Ottawa police have not commented on the shooting, aside from alerting people early Sunday afternoon that anyone whose vehicle had been stuck inside the parking garage at 145 Clarence St. could now retrieve it.

with files from Matthew Kupfer