Shoot­ings not ran­dom: po­lice

The Hamilton Spectator - - LOCAL - MATTHEW VAN DONGEN The Hamil­ton Spec­ta­tor

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.

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