Drugs factor in Hamilton shootings, police say
DRUGS ARE BEHIND NEARLY
ALL GUN CRIMES this year in Hamilton with arms making their way here from Ohio, police say after the city notched its 10th shooting in the past month.
The latest gunfire — a 39-year-old woman was shot after a Mountain home was hit with bullets early Thursday — also marked 13 shootings so far this year.
Police say the recent shootings aren’t necessarily connected but investigators are exploring potential links.
“Any time we have incidents like this, they’re of a huge concern to us,” Police Chief Eric Girt said during Thursday’s police services board meeting.
In all of the 13 shootings since January, the victims were targeted, said Supt. Ryan Diodati.
The subtext of the gunfire involves drugs, Diodati told reporters. “The shootings have all had a subculture of the drug element to them.”
The bulk of the guns in Hamilton,
which are predominantly handguns, are from Ohio, Girt told the police services board.
Generally, the guns may have been stolen during break-ins, Diodati later specified. They may have been licensed, but the people who end up with them aren’t licensed gun holders.
The superintendent said police are looking at “commonalities” in the latest spate of shootings but are not yet “prepared to link any of the investigations.”
Thursday’s shooting at a West 5th Street home, near Mohawk Road West, is Hamilton’s 10th in the past month and fourth this week.
That monthly tally roughly matches the number of shootings the city has typically seen during entire years. So far in 2017, there have been 13 shootings in total.
On West 5th, shots were fired into the home while the 39-year-old woman, another adult and two children were inside around 1 a.m. Thursday. No one else was hurt and the woman has since been released from hospital.
At the scene, bullet holes could be seen on the door, above which a security camera is mounted. Police searched the area, but have not located any suspects. A light-coloured vehicle was seen at the scene.
This was the second time in a week the Mountain address has been targeted. Around 11 p.m. Sunday, the same 39-year-old woman shot Thursday and a 40year-old man were injured when a man allegedly forced his way inside and assaulted them.
Police are investigating whether the shooting and home invasion are linked, Det. Const. Jeffrey Clushman said.
Both are considered targeted but police “don’t know why it’s happening at this point,” Clushman said.
The victims are being co-operative, he noted.
Again, in Sunday’s home invasion, children were present but not injured. The suspect was described as a man who wore dark clothing.
Clushman said there’s no information linking the West 5th shooting to other recent ones across the city.
No charges have been laid except against two teens arrested while running from a home invasion on Holly Avenue in the city’s east end Tuesday morning.
In that case, a 46-year-old man suffered life-threatening gunshot wounds. Police say they continue to search for three other suspects, all believed to be young males, and have recovered two guns related to the home invasion.
While no firm links have been established between the 10 shootings, detectives believe two at a Macaulay Street East home in the North End were connected.
Two shootings at a suspected grow-op on Green Mountain Road in Upper Stoney Creek are also believed to be connected to each other. Detectives are exploring whether the Holly Avenue shooting is linked to other crimes, including a recent home invasion and shooting on nearby Weir Street North.
Jane Sprott, a criminology professor at Ryerson University,
Left: Close-up detail showing the bullet hole in the front door of the home where a woman was shot early Thursday morning. Below: Hamilton police search outside the home.
The home at 489 West 5th Street, near Mohawk Road West, where a 39-year-old woman was shot early Thursday.