Shootings not random: police
Another night of gun violence in Hamilton has bumped up the number of shootings this year to at least 19 — along with a similar number of violent home invasions.
The latest gunplay occurred during a failed home invasion on Avondale Street Thursday night followed closely by a drive-by shooting on Sherman Avenue early Friday. The rate of reported gunfire halfway through this year is approaching the 2016 total of 22 shootings.
While Hamilton police are concerned about all violent incidents, investigators don’t believe either the spray of bullets or spike in home invasions are random. “Overall, most of these types of incidents are targeted,” said spokesperson Const. Claus Wagner.
He said that includes the shooting of a 20year-old who was walking with friends on Sherman Avenue, near Barton Street East, around 1:45 a.m. Friday.
Police said witnesses heard yelling — followed by a gunshot — coming from a vehicle that approached from King Street. The victim was shot in the back and taken to hospital where he was in stable condition Friday.
On Thursday night, a 24-year-old man who police believe was trying to break into a home on Avondale was allegedly shot by a resident inside. Wagner said police also believe that attempted home invasion was targeted and that there is no ongoing danger to the public.
Wagner said investigators can’t yet comment on the possible motive for the foiled home invasion or the drive-by shooting.
But in general, police have said a spike in home invasions last year — up to 67 compared to 36 in 2015 — can often be attributed to the illegal drug trade. As an example, investigators have pointed to the growing opioid crisis and the potential for conflict between traffickers, addicts and criminal go-betweens.
Two shootings this year appear Mob-related. The home of mobster Pasquale (Pat) Musitano was sprayed with bullets in late June, nearly two months after his brother Angelo Musitano was shot dead in his driveway.
Other shootings that initially sounded random proved otherwise. A 15-year-old reported being shot in the leg while walking in an alley last month. But police later determined an 18-year-old who was showing off his gun shot her by accident in a nearby house.