Friends mourn man killed in ByWard Market shootings
Questions raised about police resources, security in Ottawa's nightlife district
Friends are mourning the loss of a 43-year-old man killed in a shooting early Saturday morning, while others are praying for the speedy recovery of another man caught in the crossfire in what has been a deadly weekend in Ottawa's ByWard Market.
As more details become available in the weekend shooting, friends confirmed to CBC News the man who died was Terrence Phillips. They identified the second man, who sustained non-life threatening injuries, as Bun Sim.
People who knew both victims described the men as best friends.
Meanwhile, others called the weekend's events a "nightmare" on social media, which is where some expressed their condolences for Phillips who died in one of three rounds of gunfire.
"You were a good man," wrote Chris Oliver in a post on Facebook.
The unidentified gunman believed to be responsible for the carnage also died in a shootout with an Ottawa police officer who was first on the scene.
3 related shootings
The province's Special Investigations Unit was called in to investigate the police-involved shooting. The police oversight agency invokes its mandate whenever there is an incident involving police that results in a death, serious injury, or an allegation of sexual assault.
The SIU is responsible for determining if the police officer committed a criminal offence in the course of his duties.
Jason Gennaro, a SIU spokesperson, told reporters Saturday that an Ottawa police officer driving in the market area responded to the intersection of Dalhousie and Clarence streets after receiving reports that a man had been injured in a shooting.
The first man who was shot, who has been identified as Sim, was taken to hospital with non life-threatening injuries.
The responding officer attempted to arrest the suspect, but the man fled, Gennaro said. Moments later, another person, now known to be Phillips, 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 SIU said the focus of its investigation is the parking garage shooting where the officer was alone with the suspect.
'Mayhem in the streets'
As the investigation continues, questions are being raised about security in Ottawa's nightlife district and the city police's resources to patrol the busy tourist destination.
Amale Chahine was leaving Cornerstone Grill early Saturday morning when she heard there were gunshots. She rushed to Dalhousie Street to find Sim, her friend, had been shot.
"I turned a corner and you see mayhem in the streets of Ottawa," she said Sunday at the Murray Street parking lot where the incident ended.
"I don't think any of us got sleep until the morning, until we heard [Sim] was okay. But I'm sure he's going through a lot to wake up to hear his best friend didn't make it with him."
The clubs need … to get some kind of protection.- Amale Chahine
Chahine said it is time for more security in the ByWard Market.
"This nonsense in this city has got to stop," she said. "The clubs need ... to get some kind of protection. They say they search people, [but] they don't search people. Nobody ever gets searched to go into a bar here. They need to add more protection to our streets for our people."
Union says police under-resourced
When asked if more police officers should be deployed to the market, Matt Skof, president of the Ottawa Police Association, said it's not that simple. While he has long made an issue of understaffing, he also pointed to the scrapping of community policing, which allowed officers to build up knowledge of the neighbourhood.
"You could flood this place with police officers, that doesn't mean it's going to stop it. But what the feeling of safety is, is that more officers could at least potentially — proactively, by presence — prevent something like this from occuring."
Skof couldn't comment on the specifics of Saturday's events, but he said the market has unique challenges, especially in the early morning hours.
"If you've ever worked down here at bar close, you'll know that it is very dynamic, it's fluid. You're conscious of the fact you have other people around."
Skof said an officer would not necessarily need to respond differently while alone on a call.
"You wouldn't be able to determine whether or not being alone on a call would be a factor. It could be, but that in itself doesn't necessarily have a trigger with a different response," Skof said.
"If you're presented with a firearm, whether you're with your partner or not, the response is the same."
The SIU said Sunday it will not publicly release the names of either of the two men who were killed.
Autopsies for both men are scheduled for Monday. The results of the post-mortem examinations are not expected to be made public because they are both evidence in the ongoing investigation, the SIU said.
with files from Trevor Pritchard