Two teenagers charged in vi­o­lent home in­va­sion; three still on the run

Man shot in east end in sta­ble con­di­tion af­ter un­der­go­ing surgery

The Hamilton Spectator - - FRONT PAGE - NI­COLE O’REILLY

Hamil­ton po­lice have charged an 18-year-old and 15-year-old with a litany of as­sault, weapon and break-in charges fol­low­ing a vi­o­lent home in­va­sion that left a man with life-threat­en­ing gun­shot wounds.

The in­ci­dent comes amid a spike in shoot­ings in Hamil­ton over the last month and as po­lice deal with an in­crease in youth crime — par­tic­u­larly vi­o­lent crime, which saw an 18 per cent jump last year.

Po­lice con­tinue to search for three other sus­pects in the shoot­ing on Holly Av­enue in the east end Tues­day morn­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to an an­nual re­port that goes to the Hamil­ton Po­lice Ser­vices Board Thurs­day, Hamil­ton saw a 1.5 per cent in­crease in over­all crimes com­mit­ted by youths last year. This is the first time in eight years Hamil­ton has recorded an in­crease, buck­ing the na­tional trend, which recorded an over­all two per cent de­crease.

But the in­crease is more strik­ing when look­ing at vi­o­lent crime specif­i­cally, which jumped from 432 youths in­volved in vi­o­lent crimes in 2015 to 510 in 2016.

Sky­lon John­son, 18, of no fixed ad­dress and a 15-year-old Hamil­ton boy, who can­not be iden­ti­fied un­der the Youth Crim­i­nal Jus­tice Act, are fac­ing charges of ag­gra­vated as­sault, break and en­ter, unau­tho­rized pos­ses­sion of a firearm, care­less use of a firearm, dis­guise with in­tent, dis­charge with in­tent and three counts of as­sault.

The 46-year-old vic­tim re­mains in hos­pi­tal where he un­der­went surgery fol­low­ing the shoot­ing in­side his home at 21 Holly Ave., near Beach Road. He was re­ported to be in sta­ble con­di­tion.

Neigh­bours say he was shot in

the hand and torso, with his hand nearly be­ing sev­ered. A 52-year-old woman and two teens were as­saulted, suf­fer­ing non-lifethreat­en­ing in­juries. Another teen in the house was not in­jured.

Po­lice al­lege five male sus­pects forced their way into the home around 9 a.m. Tues­day. Of­fi­cers ar­rived while the rob­bery was in progress and heard gun­shots be­fore the sus­pects tried to run. Two were caught and three got away.

The three out­stand­ing sus­pects are only de­scribed as males, spokesper­son Const. Steve Wel­ton said Wed­nes­day. It’s al­leged more than one gun was in­volved.

Neigh­bour Marjo Daniels said she was told by one of the home­own­ers that the sus­pects were re­peat­edly ask­ing for a code to get into a safe. How­ever, po­lice would not say why they be­lieve the home was tar­geted.

The in­ci­dent marked the ninth shoot­ing in Hamil­ton over the last month that The Spec­ta­tor is aware of, in­clud­ing one mur­der, two home in­va­sions and drive-by shoot­ings. Po­lice say these in­ci­dents were tar­geted and not ran­dom.

The last time The Spec­ta­tor wrote about a spike in gun vi­o­lence was in 2015, when there was a rash of pub­lic street shoot­ings, some of which in­volved youths. In all, Hamil­ton had 16 shoot­ings that year, a jump from five shoot­ings in 2014.

“The be­hav­iour is cer­tainly a con­cern, vi­o­lence with firearms in the com­mu­nity is a con­cern,” Wel­ton said. “I don’t want to say (the Holly Av­enue home in­va­sion) is not a pub­lic safety con­cern, but there is no iden­ti­fied ac­tive threat.”

Po­lice are in­ves­ti­gat­ing whether the in­ci­dent is linked to any other crimes in the neigh­bour­hood, in­clud­ing a nearby home in­va­sion on Weir Street North Satur­day night, where a man was shot.

In that case, po­lice are search­ing for four or five young men and a dark-coloured ve­hi­cle seen flee­ing the scene, near Van­sit­mart Av­enue around 9 p.m. Satur­day. They al­legedly forced their way into the home, made de­mands and as­saulted three peo­ple, in­clud­ing an 18-year-old who was shot in the hand.

Wel­ton said there is no clear ev­i­dence of gang links to this lat­est case. How­ever, he noted, some­times a group works to­gether, but may not meet the le­gal thresh­old to be called or­ga­nized crime.

“Whether some­one chooses to iden­tify them­selves or af­fil­i­ate them­selves with ... what some may per­ceive to be a gang, that won’t im­pact (what charges they face), but will be con­sid­ered in the on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion.”

Any­one with in­for­ma­tion on ei­ther home in­va­sion is asked to con­tact po­lice or of­fer tips anony­mously through Crime Stop­pers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).


Hamil­ton po­lice foren­sics officer Mark Miller en­ters 21 Holly Ave. as po­lice con­tin­ued their home in­va­sion in­ves­ti­ga­tion Wed­nes­day.

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