Rattled by daytime shooting, Rochester Street residents want answers

Still shaken by Thursday afternoon's shooting, people living on Rochester Street want to know what the city and its police force will do to clamp down on violent crime.

Shootout happened Thursday afternoon, moments before kids got home from school

Nella Campagna has lived on Rochester Street for about 20 years. She'd like to see the police step up its patrols in the area, after a daytime shooting last Thursday left one man injured. (Marc-André Cossette/CBC)

Days after a brazen afternoon shooting left one man injured, people living on Rochester Street can't help but imagine how it all could have been worse.

Nella Campagna lives just steps away from where the shooting happened, near the edge of Primrose Park at the corner of Rochester Street and Primrose Avenue.

"I was shaking all day," Campagna said, recalling how her daughter left the house moments before the shots were fired. "Can you imagine? She would have witnessed that — or she could have been shot."

A few doors down, Dana Klassen vividly remembers how it all unfolded.

He and his wife Theresa were in their living room with their seven-month-old child.

Klassen was painting the ceiling, his back to his living room window, when he heard the hail of gunshots ring out shortly after 2:30 p.m.

The shooting happened just steps away from Primrose Park, moments before school children were due to return home. (Marc-André Cossette/CBC)

It was a school day, and yellow school buses were due to round the corner, returning young children to their waiting parents. It's that thought that Klassen finds most distressing.

"Within 15 minutes, that park would have been full of kids," he said. "Kids could have been hit, could have been shot."

3rd shooting in 24 hours

The apparent victim of Thursday's shooting, 22-year-old Mohamed Ribih, has been charged with several firearms offences, including careless use of a firearm, knowingly possessing a firearm without a licence, and recklessly discharging a firearm.

It was the city's third shooting in a 24-hour period.

Around 2:05 a.m. Thursday morning, police responded to reports of multiple gunshots in the area around Uplands and Paul Anka drives. A 25-year-old man was taken to hospital in serious but stable condition.

No injuries were reported in a separate shooting that happened Wednesday night around 10:30 p.m. on Westbury Road, just off Baseline Road.

'Where are the guns coming from?'

Somerset ward councillor Catherine McKenney lives in the neighbourhood where Thursday's shooting happened.

She said she, too, was alarmed when she heard about the incident, especially as it occurred in broad daylight.

McKenney said while most people in Ottawa understand there will always be crime in the city, it's the continued prevalence of guns they find most concerning.

"This wasn't a blip that we hoped it was going to be, a year or a year and a half ago," McKenney said, referring to gun-involved crime in the city.

Nadia Perez has lived on Rochester Street for seven years. She said she worries that violent crime is happening more frequently across the city. (Marc-André Cossette/CBC)

McKenney praised the Ottawa police for reaching out to community groups and associations in her neighbourhood, but said the city still doesn't have all the answers it needs to clamp down on violent crime.

"Where are the guns coming from? Why so many guns in the hands of people in our city?" she asked. "We really need to think about what's happening, why it's happening, and what we can do about it."

'It's scary'

Those answers can't come soon enough for Nadia Perez, who has lived on Rochester Street with her two boys for the past seven years.

With police cars already routinely patrolling the neighbourhood, Perez said she's not sure what more can be done.

Rochester Street resident Nadia Perez says police already patrol the neighbourhood regularly. (Marc-André Cossette/CBC)

"It's scary, because I always considered Ottawa a very safe city," she said. "I always felt safe, [but] it looks like the situation is changing now."

Ottawa police are asking anyone with information regarding the shooting to contact the Ottawa Police Service's Guns and Gangs Unit at 613-236-1222, ext. 5050.

Anonymous tips can be submitted by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.