Drugs fac­tor in Hamil­ton shoot­ings, po­lice say

The Hamilton Spectator - - FRONT PAGE - NI­COLE O’REILLY AND NATALIE PAD­DON

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,

JOHN RENNISON, THE HAMIL­TON SPEC­TA­TOR

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.

AN­DREW COLLINS, SPE­CIAL TO THE HAMIL­TON SPEC­TA­TOR

JOHN RENNISON, THE HAMIL­TON SPEC­TA­TOR

The home at 489 West 5th Street, near Mo­hawk Road West, where a 39-year-old woman was shot early Thurs­day.

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