Friday, July 19, 2024

‘It is very shocking:’ Community reaction continues after brazen shooting death of Ottawa man

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Workers and people who frequent the Hampton Park Plaza are seeking answers after 28-year-old Adam Abdullahi Elmi, who was fatally shot in the south end of Westboro last Friday evening.


The Ottawa Police Service (OPS) offered few new details on the investigation on Monday, but homicide investigators now say they believe the shooting was a targeted attack.


“It is genuinely a busy area and I think we see a lot of different action in this parking lot but not usually to that degree,” said Jennifer LeBlanc, who works just steps from where Elmi was gunned down.


“Especially as someone who is 27 such as myself, it’s not far off so, it is very shocking.”


Multiple witnesses at the scene, who did not want to be identified, tell CTV News the victim was with a group of people inside Fat Bastard Burrito when he received a phone call.


When he stepped outside to take the call, witnesses say he was shot multiple times.


“Typically, when you hear stuff like this it’s always gang related, so you really just hope that none of the bystanders got hurt,” said a man named Slaven who frequents the plaza.


“It’s still a safe city. I know things like this happen, and we don’t like to see it happen, but just try to go about your own business and don’t get involved in any of the gang-related stuff.”


Ottawa police have not confirmed whether they believe the incident is gang related.


Investigators spent much of the weekend canvassing the area, speaking with witnesses and gathering any relevant surveillance video, but no arrests have been made.


Police have not released any descriptions for a suspect or suspects.


“Violence like that does not belong on Algonquin territory and I was shocked, working across the road going, ‘wow, that was right after work hours.’ and so, that is scary,” said Stephanie Peltier


“Respect the land. Leave the violence out of Canada. Don’t bring it here.”


The shooting marks the 14th homicide in the city of Ottawa so far this year.


Officers are asking people who may have video footage of the incident to come forward.


FIREARM CRIME ON THE RISE


Violent crimes involving firearms in Canada are on the rise, according to the latest data from Statistics Canada.


The report only shows the figures for as recently as 2022, which saw a 8.9 per cent increase in firearms-related violent crimes per 100,000 people compared to 2021.


Much of the spike nationwide was driven by increases in Ontario.


According to the report, police in Ontario reported 4,791 firearms-related violent crimes in 2022, which represented a jump of 1,016 compared to the previous year.


Irvin Waller, a criminologist and professor at the University of Ottawa, notes violent crime of all kinds has been trending in the wrong direction for nearly a decade.


He says it’s not entirely clear as to why exactly violent crime rates are on the rise, but rampant drug use is likely playing a significant role.


“I’m sure it has a lot to do with fentanyl. And the young men shooting each other tend to be part of networks or what some people call gangs. I think saying gangs makes them sound overly sophisticated, but they’re in networks,” said Waller.


“One of the things they’re doing is selling drugs and the amount of money you can make from fentanyl is going up.”


Waller says more needs to be done in Canada when it comes to education and early intervention for young people before they reach their teenage years.


He says governments need to prioritize setting up lead offices for gun violence reduction and early intervention in more cities and provinces.


“Regardless of what the theorists would tell us is the reason for it, what is very clear, is that we can reduce it significantly, and significantly means by 50 per cent, within a relatively short period of three to five years,” he said.


“It’s really three years from when you put the programs into place, but it takes time to do it.”


Waller also pointed to changes to the Community Safety and Policing Act that came into effect in 2019.


“It basically says that the local government should be looking at what is contributing to crime and victimization and then set up programs to tackle those risk factors,” he said.


“We haven’t begun that in Ottawa.”


With files from CTV News Ottawa’s Sam Houpt.

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