Two teenagers charged in violent home invasion; three still on the run
Man shot in east end in stable condition after undergoing surgery
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.