Exit strategy for young adults in gangs needed to fight gun violence
Police chief, police services board chair, mayor address gap in resources
Ottawa's mayor, police chief and other stakeholders reiterated the need for more social support and programming, including an exit strategy for young adults in gangs, to deal with and prevent gun violence after the city's latest shooting over the weekend.
Mayor Jim Watson, Chief Charles Bordeleau, Coun. Eli El-Chantiry, MPP Yasir Naqvi and others met late Monday afternoon to discuss the issue.
"We are fortunate that no innocent bystander has been injured or killed as a result of this recklessness," Watson said. "... We must also remember that this is a multifaceted social issue that requires complex solutions well beyond [simple] police enforcement."
"Gang violence is a complex issue and there is no single fix," he said, adding that investments are needed in programs around education and employment.
El-Chantiry, who chairs the Ottawa Police Services Board, said an exit strategy is needed for adults after being charged with gang-related offences.
Bordeleau later expanded on El-Chantiry's statement.
"There is a gap in dealing with the young male adult, coming out of jail or being arrested by the police service. There are no services out there ... to support them in trying to get out of the gang," Bordeleau said, adding that police are working with the province and the city to try to address that gap.
Latest shooting happened Saturday afternoon
The latest shooting happened Saturday afternoon when a man in his 20s, whom police identified as a gang member, was shot twice in the back on Riga Private near Britannia Park.
Police said a black, smaller vehicle pulled up and a suspect shot a man twice in the back before driving away. The victim was in critical condition on Sunday. There was no update on his condition Monday.
Officers were canvassing the area of the shooting on Sunday and interviewing witnesses as the guns and gangs unit investigates.
Staff Sgt. Ken Bryden of the guns and gangs unit said the shooting is believed to be gang-related, but he said the motive is not clear and the victim's gang affiliation is not yet known.
It was the first gang-related shooting of the new year, but comes after a record 49 shootings in 2014.