First month of 2018 marked by gun violence in Ottawa

Ottawa saw 13 shootings in the first month of 2018, leaving police, politicians and community members looking for answers.

City saw 13 shootings in January, 40 per cent of the total shootings in all of 2013

Ottawa police officers search the area after a shooting in Mechanicsville on Jan. 18, 2018. (CBC)

Ottawa saw 13 shootings in the first month of 2018, leaving police, politicians and community members looking for answers.

Two of those incidents proved fatal, while a further four resulted in injuries. 

In several shootings, bullets have struck cars and homes, leaving entire communities shaken. 

A mere five years ago, the number of shootings in the city totalled 32.

This means that in the first month of 2018, Ottawa has already seen 40 per cent of the shootings recorded in all of 2013. 

An Ottawa police spokesperson said the organization was unable to provide the number of January shootings for previous years, citing the format the data is stored in and the "labour-intensive" process that would be required to share it. 

Police point to gangs, fewer street checks

Two people have been killed by gun violence so far in 2018.

The city's first homicide occurred at a residential complex on Paul Anka Drive in South Ottawa on Jan. 9.

23-year-old Tarek Dakhil was identified as the victim.

There have been no arrests related to his death.

The second occurred at an apartment building at 125 McLeod Street, where 22-year-old Adam Perron was killed. 

Ali Omar Mohamed has been charged with second-degree murder, and police have obtained a Canada-wide warrant for his arrest.

Throughout the month, community members and experts have urged the city to change the way it deals with gun violence.

Police have said the rise in violence is likely due to a turf war between rival gangs and have asked for the public's help in identifying suspects.

Ottawa police investigate a shooting on Willow Street on Jan. 5 that left a man in his 20s injured. (CBC)

"We know [there are] people out there who know these suspects," said Insp. Mark Patterson of the Ottawa police criminal investigations unit earlier this month.

At a news conference on Jan. 26, Mayor Jim Watson and police Chief Charles Bordeleau blamed a series of shootings on a small group of people allegedly involved in the local drug trade. 

"The foundation is around drug trafficking. Whether it's marijuana, whether it's opioids, it is generally related to an increasing trafficking in drugs — and the competitive nature of that business," Bordeleau said.

Bordeleau said that guns used in the shootings are often obtained through local break-and-enters or are smuggled into Canada from the U.S.

The head of the Ottawa police association Matt Skof drew a connection between the increased violence and restrictions on how police conduct street checks, a suggestion that critics derided as 'preposterous.'