Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Woman shot by Ottawa police officer after Westboro traffic stop

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The 25-year-old was listed in critical condition as of Friday evening.

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A 25-year-old woman was critically injured after being shot by an Ottawa police officer following a traffic stop in Westboro on Friday.

Ontario’s police watchdog, the Special Investigations Unit, issued a statement at about 6 p.m. saying the Ottawa Police officer had initiated the traffic stop at about 1:30 p.m. in the area of Churchill Avenue and Avondale Avenue in the Westboro neighbourhood.

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The woman then left the vehicle and fled on foot, with the officer in pursuit, the statement added.

“At some point, the officer discharged his firearm and the woman was struck,” it said, adding that three SIU investigators and two forensic investigators had been assigned to the case.

Anyone who may have information about the incident, including video or photos, was asked to contact the lead investigator of the SIU toll-free at 1-800-787-8529 or online at: https://siu.on.ca/en/appeals.php

Ottawa paramedics confirmed they responded to a call on Avondale Avenue at about 1:30 p.m., then treated and transported a woman with a gunshot wound to hospital. The Ottawa Police Service said Friday evening that she remained in critical condition.

In an update Sunday evening, the SIU said the woman was in “serious to critical condition in hospital.”

Police said earlier that the shooting occurred on the 200 block of Avondale and that there was no known threat to public safety.

Yellow police tape surrounded a silver Audi with two flat front tires and a broken grill.

Shooting on Avondale Avenue in Westboro
Ottawa police and the Special Investigations Unit were on the scene Friday afternoon. Photo by Tony Caldwell /POSTMEDIA

The SIU investigates incidents involving police in Ontario when shots are fired by an official at a person, or there is a serious injury, death or allegations of sexual assault.

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An eyewitness told this newspaper that police were pursuing the woman on foot when the incident took place.

They said the woman appeared to be holding a weapon.

Shooting on Avondale Avenue in Westboro
An Audi A7 with all its doors open at the scene of the shooting on Avondale Avenue. Photo by Tony Caldwell /POSTMEDIA

“We both heard ‘drop it, drop it,’” said the witness, who saw the incident from their living room window alongside another person in their house. They spoke on the condition of anonymity due to concerns for their safety.

“We both saw (the woman), turn towards (the police officer).”

The witness said their neighbourhood was generally quiet and they were upset this had happened.

“You definitely don’t imagine this happening right in Westboro or on Avondale,” they said.

Multiple streets in the area of Avondale Avenue were closed Friday afternoon, including Avondale from Churchill to Tweedsmuir. Police escorted neighbours to their homes on foot.

Shooting on Avondale Avenue in Westboro
Ottawa paramedics responded to a call on Avondale Avenue in Westboro at about 1:30 p.m. and then treated and transported a woman with a gunshot wound to hospital. Ottawa police and the Special Investigations Unit were on the scene Friday afternoon. Photo by Tony Caldwell /POSTMEDIA

Another witness, who also asked not to be named due to safety concerns, said the police were telling the woman “to drop the gun.”

That witness was preparing to leave home and quickly rushed back inside when they saw the woman carrying the firearm being pursued on foot by an officer.

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“We saw the chase and heard four shots,” the witness said. “Once we saw the guns, we said, ‘We’re going inside.’”

Shooting on Avondale Avenue in Westboro
Ottawa paramedics responded to a call on Avondale Avenue in Westboro at about 1:30 p.m. Ottawa police and the Special Investigations Unit were on the scene Friday afternoon. Photo by Tony Caldwell /POSTMEDIA

The witness said a police representative told them “to rest assured, this didn’t originate in your neighbourhood. He was very much trying to allay that concern.”

The police also told people in the neighbourhood that victim support was available to those who might need it, the witness said.

Shooting on Avondale Avenue in Westboro
Ottawa paramedics responded to a call on Avondale Avenue in Westboro at about 1:30 p.m. A full drink inside the Audi with the name of Rachel on the order sticker on the cup. Photo by Tony Caldwell /POSTMEDIA
Shooting on Avondale Avenue in Westboro
A full drink inside the Audi with the name of Rachel on the order sticker on the cup. Photo by Tony Caldwell /POSTMEDIA
Shooting on Avondale Avenue in Westboro
Ottawa paramedics responded to a call on Avondale Avenue in Westboro at about 1:30 p.m. where they treated and transported a woman with a gunshot wound to hospital. An Audi A7 with all its doors open at the scene. Photo by Tony Caldwell /POSTMEDIA

With files from Marlo Glass, Bruce Garrioch and Gord Holder.

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