Po­lice won’t pay for bul­let holes in car from shootout

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - COLIN PERKEL

TORONTO — A woman whose parked car was dam­aged in the cross­fire of a po­lice shootout in Mon­treal is hop­ing the city will re­con­sider its re­fusal to cover the cost of re­pairs.

In an in­ter­view Thurs­day, Shan­non Ojero, of Brant­ford, said the city has so far re­fused to pay be­cause she filed her claim too late, and then an of­fi­cial told her po­lice were not re­spon­si­ble for dis­abling the ve­hi­cle be­cause they were only de­fend­ing them­selves.

“This is ac­tu­ally ridicu­lous,” Ojero said. “Some­body, whether the po­lice de­part­ment or the city or who­ever, I think they should be re­spon­si­ble for it.”

The sit­u­a­tion arose when Ojero lent the 2007 black Lexus — she calls it her baby — to her daugh­ter, An­gela Bradt, 17, so she and four girl­friends could spend five days in Mon­treal over New Year’s Eve. Ojero said she re­luc­tantly let her daugh­ter go, think­ing the city was safe, or at least safer than Toronto.

In Mon­treal for the first time, Bradt and friends went out club­bing, re­turn­ing to their down­town ho­tel in the early hours of Dec. 31. Bradt, who is in her last year of high school, said she grabbed some be­long­ings from the parked car, and was in her room for about 10 min­utes when gun­fire erupted out­side. The teens watched as po­lice swarmed the area and shut down the street.

“I said to my­self, ‘I should prob­a­bly move my car if some­thing like that’s go­ing down, be­fore it gets shot. But I didn’t do any­thing,” Bradt said in an in­ter­view.

How­ever, when she went to move her car the next morn­ing, po­lice stopped her.

“He said, ‘Is that your car, miss?’ And I said, ‘Oh yeah, sure, tell me that it’s shot, hasn’t it been?’ And he goes, ‘Uh, yeah, maybe twice.’ And I went, ‘Great!’”

The car, hit by two bul­lets in the front, was spew­ing coolant and deemed un­driv­able. Po­lice towed it as part of their in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Bradt, who said her friends were pretty freaked out by what had hap­pened, ini­tially had trou­ble even get­ting out­side be­cause of the po­lice ac­tiv­ity on the street. One help­ful of­fi­cer drove her to a car-rental com­pany, but the com­pany re­fused to rent her a ve­hi­cle be­cause she was too young.

“I got re­ally frus­trated, and I just was bawl­ing and I called my mom and she said, ‘OK, well let’s get you home.’”

Bradt cut short her va­ca­tion and took a bus home af­ter po­lice told her they weren’t re­leas­ing the car, that was towed back to Brant­ford.

Ojero, 35, said the gun­shots caused over $2,700 in dam­age, but in­sur­ance cov­er­age left her on the hook for the $1,000 de­ductible.

“I’m a mom with two teenaged kids, I’m go­ing to col­lege my­self. I’m just try­ing to get on my own feet, and this $1,000 has re­ally put me in a deep hole,” she said. “This is a car I worked very hard for, I paid it off, it’s my baby.”

Ojero said she had dif­fi­culty meet­ing the 15-day dead­line to make a claim be­cause of prob­lems find­ing some­one to speak to her in English, and the city sent her a let­ter to say she was out of time.

“When I called back, the gen­tle­man said, ‘Po­lice were not in the wrong, so we’re deny­ing your claim,’ And I said, ‘Well, I wasn’t in the wrong ei­ther, so some­body has to like pipe up here.”

Some­one else at the city has told her to fill out a two-page com­plaint form and she’s hop­ing that will lead to her re­im­burse­ment.

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