OTTAWA — Ottawa police say a rash of shootings that killed four people and injured two others in the span of five days are not connected.
Speaking at a press conference Monday morning, Ottawa Police Service Chief Peter Sloly told reporters “the crimes that happened over the weekend, at this point, there is no known connection between them. There is a commonality between them to drugs but we cannot draw a nexus at this point to gangs.”
Over the course of five days, Ottawa police responded to shootings in Gloucester, Alta Vista, Pineview, and Nepean.
Police say the spread of the violence is a concern and part of a new trend emerging in the capital over the past several years.
“They’re coming across each other in unplanned and rather random locations and then sparking acts of violence often involving firearms,” Chief Sloly said.
Ibrahim Mohammed lives just steps from Friday’s triple shooting that killed two brothers and sent another man to hospital; he says he no longer feels safe in the neighbourhood.
“We just need the police to ensure safety in the low-income areas because that’s where the gangs originate and they start because they’re in poverty and they don’t have a lot of opportunities,” Mohammed said.
Other residents that spoke to CTV News, but asked not to be named, said they were shocked by the violence. Some said they were concerned for the neighbourhood while others took solace in the police’s assertion the location of the shooting was random.
“Most people understand that the neighbourhood is safe and they feel comfortable here, but there is still a sense of shock at the event,” Bryan Orendorff, president of the Riverview Park Community Association said.
“Most people seem to be getting over [the] shock, but it will take a little while I expect,” he added.
Canada-wide arrest warrants have been issued for three suspects allegedly linked to Friday’s double homicide.
Police say 28-year-old Ahmed Siyad, also known as “Baby Dice, Dice or Dicey,” and 31-year-old Mohamed Shire, known as “Waldo,” both from Toronto, are wanted in connection to the shooting.
A warrant is also out for 29-year-old Osman Abdullahi, of Ottawa.
Ottawa Police say they’re enacting a “major operation plan” to tackle the surge in violent crime.
“We are going to be identifying the most high-risk offenders…we’re going to be identifying those places where the offenders are engaging in illegal activity,” Chief Sloly said.
OPS says they hope that will help suppress the levels of gun-crime, adding that element of the plan is already in place after being built over the last several weeks and “significantly escalated over the weekend.”
Chief Sloly says the plan also includes increased coordination between different OPS units, provincial, national and international jurisdictions and creating a community engagement strategy.
Details of the plan have yet to be released.
Local activists say the recent shootings speak to the lack of supports in some Ottawa communities.
“I grew up in a community where this is something that would happen almost every year and so definitely it’s been very difficult for me to see,” Maya Basudde said.
Basudde says she’s lost multiple friends to street violence.
“If we invest in our community and if we invest in the mental health in our community and empower the youth when they’re young we won’t have to worry about these issues in the future,” Basudde said.
Ottawa Police say they’ve in favour of a solution that includes community groups.
“We have great police officers and service members who are very innovative, but alone we can’t come up with the solutions. We’re looking for the support from local community,” Chief Sloly said.
Mohammed says he hopes to see increased supports for people in neighbourhoods like his.
“They just need an opportunity,” he said.
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