'It's too long': Residents complain about apparent slow pace of shooting investigation

Residents in a west-end Ottawa Community Housing neighbourhood where shots were fired on Saturday are angry that police waited six days before asking the public for help in the investigation.
Morrison Gardens resident Hymelle Ndoudy said, "You're just a number, for cops, that's what I'm thinking. That is the cops' mentality." (Stu Mills/CBC)

Residents in an Ottawa Community Housing neighbourhood are angry that police waited six days before asking the public to assist them in an investigation into the discharge of a firearm in a residential area where children were playing.

Police responded to multiple 911 calls in the area of Draper Avenue and Morrison Drive near Greenbank Road between 1:40 p.m. and 1:50 p.m on Saturday, July 22.

Kids had been swimming in a pool nearby and playing outside when the shooting occurred.

Several houses and structures were damaged. Police found shell casings in the area and along a nearby pathway, although no one was injured.

Hymelle Ndoudy said she believes the investigation is low on the priority list because the shootings happened in an Ottawa Community Housing neighbourhood.

"Don't worry, it's just black people all of them are poor," said an angry Ndoudy. "So, you're going to die, you're just a number for cops. That's what I'm thinking. That is the cops' mentality.

"It's too long," said Ndoudy of the six-day wait before police put out the call for witnesses.

But Ottawa police strongly objected to any suggestion that the force treats a low-income neighbourhood differently than any others. A media spokesman for police said that officers canvassed the neighbourhood after the shootings last weekend, but turned up no witnesses — even though the shots were fired in broad daylight. 

Six days later, investigators say they have come up against a wall and are now turning to the public for tips, a measure they don't always take. The Friday news release asking the public for help was the first the media heard about the daytime shootings.

'It's not safe for my grandchildren'

"That day I actually thought my grandchildren got shot," said Diane Trottier, an area resident. "I was sitting in the house at the kitchen eating at the table and heard the bullets," she said.

Trottier has lived in the Morrison Gardens area for nearly 15 years, but says this is the year she moves. 

"It's not safe for me and it's not safe for my grandchildren. It's a scary."

Trottier said she heard several gun shots fired just before 2 p.m. on what was a sunny, Saturday afternoon as five and six-year-olds chased each through a grassy courtyard.

She, too, said she felt the community was being neglected by police investigators.

"It's not fair to any of us in here. We're all human," she said, pointing to her five-year-old granddaughter.

"They're the generation that's coming up! They need to be here!" she said.

The incident was the 34th shooting of 2017, although the total is now up to 37.

Anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to call the Ottawa Police Service west investigations unit at 613-236-1222, ext. 2666. Anonymous tips can be submitted by calling Crime Stoppers toll-free at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).