Ottawa

'Bold' daytime shooting leaves family of victim 'devastated': police

The Ottawa Police Service is speaking out against "bold" and "brazen" acts of violence after two daytime shootings that took the life of one man and rattled two neighbourhoods earlier this week.

Abdulhamid Haji Ragab identified as victim in Tuesday's fatal shooting

Police investigate the July 5, 2022, scene of a shooting where 24-year-old Abdulhamid Haji Ragab was critically wounded. He later died in hospital. (Guy Quenneville/CBC)

The Ottawa Police Service is speaking out against "bold" and "brazen" acts of violence after two daytime shootings that rattled two neighbourhoods earlier this week.

Early Tuesday afternoon, 24-year-old Abdulhamid Haji Ragab was shot in the Banff-Ledbury neighbourhood in south Ottawa. He later died in hospital, leaving his family "devastated," said Supt. Jamie Dunlop, who oversees criminal investigations. 

On Wednesday, nearly 24 hours after Haji Ragab was shot, a 26-year-old man who has not been identified was shot in another Ottawa Community Housing neighbourhood on Ritchie Street in the Britannia area. He remains in hospital in critical condition, according to the last update provided by police. 

The force's guns and gangs unit has found no connection between the two shootings. No arrests have been made in either incident, and no information about any possible suspects has been released. Police are appealing to any witnesses who might have information. 

"Detectives in homicide and guns and gangs both have investigative leads that they're actively following," Dunlop said. "Asking for more witnesses is very common."

The public setting in which the shootings took place, with children playing nearby, is of concern, he added. 

"Without question these are bold acts and brazen acts," Dunlop said of this week's shootings and an incident in May in which people in two moving vehicles shot at each other on Highway 417 between the Parkdale Avenue and Metcalfe Street exits in the early afternoon. 

"Particularly in an urban environment, we're very concerned where those bullets might go," he said. 

Dunlop could not immediately confirm what types of firearms were involved in this week's shootings, but said illegal handguns are "quite common" in such incidents. 

The Ottawa Police Service investigated a record 82 shooting incidents, including accidental discharges, last year.

This year to date, officers have investigated 29 shooting incidents, including the two reported this week. That's down from 42 this time last year.

"I hope they continue to decrease, certainly," Dunlop said. 

Supt. Jamie Dunlop of the Ottawa Police Service said officers have investigated 29 shooting incidents in 2022 so far, down from 42 at this point last year. (Guy Quenneville/CBC)

Violence a reflection of 'deep-rooted issues' 

The victim in Wednesday's shooting was found by the entrance of a parking lot in a neighbourhood that's also home to the office of Britannia Woods Community House, an agency that provides supports for children and families in the area.

On Thursday, the organization tweeted that it's wishing for a fast recovery for the victim and healing for his family.

"Shooting incidents can bring up a lot of emotions and past traumas for many of us. It is not typical in our community, and it is not something easy to deal with," the Twitter thread went on to say. 

"Unfortunately, there are pervasive problems rooted in systemic inequities and racism facing our city in many neighbourhoods that result in violence.

"It is the duty of each decision maker in our city to take each and every one of these incidents seriously and treat the deep-rooted issues with great care."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Guy Quenneville

Reporter at CBC Ottawa, originally from Cornwall, Ont.

Story tips? Email me at guy.quenneville@cbc.ca or DM me @gqinott on Twitter.

With files from Omar Dabaghi-Pacheco and Nicole Williams

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