Kenyan Teen Killed in Shooting in Ottawa, Canada
Police are investigating Ottawa’s 20th homicide of the year after a youth was shot dead on Bayswater Avenue Tuesday evening.
Ottawa police had earlier confirmed the shooting in the Hintonburg area just before 11 p.m.
Police identified the victim as Leslie Mwakio, 17, of Ottawa.
Residents reported hearing loud gunshots. “Very loud here on Bayswater near Laurel. 4-6 bangs. 5 min ago or so,” tweeted Jay Baltz, a nearby resident who is on the Hintonburg Community Association board.
He also tweeted that many emergency vehicles were on the scene, and that Bayswater was sealed off at Gladstone and Laurel avenues.
Sam Jahantab, manager of the Vibe lounge, said that the shooting, which he estimated happened hundreds of meters away when the restaurant had closed, had nothing to do with the business or its customers.
He’s clearly frustrated by the perception that it might be.
Jahantab said he had only three customers all Tuesday evening and had closed up when police arrived and spoke briefly to him and the patrons, who were awaiting an Uber.
Jahantab said that the business, which is on the ground floor of an apartment building, serves food but no longer serves alcohol. He complained of house parties and street fights nearby. The restaurant has taken steps including closing a side door so departing patrons would not disturb neighbours and working closely with police when they have unsavoury customers, he said.
“We have no problem – we have absolutely no problem,” he said, pointing to an Ottawa-wide problem.
“This city is not safe anymore,” he said. “I don’t understand everybody having a gun, every weekend we have a shooting in a different location in different areas… Where are the guns coming from?”
The shooting has startled the Hintonburg community, which has worked hard in recent years to address problems of violence in the area just east of Westboro.
The neighbourhood has become an attractive, more affordable option for families, with upgrades and infill construction.
Dozens of parents were out Wednesday morning walking children to schools that backed onto the area cordoned off by police. Many were shocked that such a violent act could happen in their community. None knew the victim.
The shooting occurred outside 83 Bayswater Ave. A woman who lives next door reported that she slept through the incident, awakening on Wednesday morning to squads of police outside her front door, suggesting that the shooting may have been targeted and precise. However, police have not released specific details about the incident.
The incident, the 11th fatal shooting this year, was also the city’s 64th shooting of the year.
In addition, the police guns and gangs unit has investigated 44 cases this year in which 18 people were injured by bullets. In 26 of those 44 cases, police believe shots were fired but there were no injuries.
Civic and police leaders maintained in October that they are concerned about the number of increased shootings but say they don’t believe combatting it is an issue of resources.
Kitchissippi ward Coun. Jeff Leiper, who lives in the area, came out to the scene late Tuesday after hearing about it from a friend nearby.
On Wednesday, he called for increased police presence noting residents are “very concerned” at the latest in a string of incidents dating back to October. They’ve included the discharge of a firearm on the street that night, gun and knife-point robberies and a stabbing – all within a few blocks of the area where the homicide happened Tuesday night.
“This is all happening within a couple of blocks vicinity,” Leiper said.
At a recent community safety meeting, residents expressed “their strong concern” that the Vibe Lounge is a problem, he said. Leiper spoke last month with the bar manager and landlord but stressed that he doesn’t know what happened Tuesday night or whether it’s linked to the business.
“We don’t know what happened last night,” Leiper said. “We don’t know whether it’s connected to the Vibe lounge or not – residents are drawing their own conclusions. It’s something that obviously I have to explore over the next couple of days.”
Leiper wrote to the police chief Oct. 26 and Nov. 5 asking for greater police presence in the area, then saw signs police trying to get out there more often.
“I would reiterate this morning the need for a stronger police presence in light of these very, very troubling incidents,” Leiper said. “I’m looking forward to hearing a lot more about this and I will be chatting with both the city’s emergency and protective services and the police to see what more presence and action we can take at this corner.”
Bordeleau told the police board’s finance committee last month that the force was starting to see “relief” on the frontline after hiring 25 new officers.
– Ottawa Sun