Shootings more than double from this time last year in Hamilton

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Published May 23, 2024 at 11:55 am

Siezed gun Hamilton shootings
One of the 442 guns Hamilton police siezed in 2023.

Hamilton has seen more than twice the amount of shootings in 2024 than it had by this time last year. Investigators are particularly concerned about the timing of these shootings as many occurred during broad daylight in busy areas.

Hamilton Police report they’ve responded to 22 shootings since January 2024. Last year the city experienced 10 shootings by May and overall saw a decline over 2022. This level of gun violence has not been seen in the city since 2019.

“Do not let the reckless actions of a few define our community’s safety. As a community, we cannot accept or tolerate this level of violence. We can’t become complacent in response to these increasingly brazen acts,” Chief Frank Bergen said.

Investigators note most of these attacks have been targeted. However, shots have been fired near homes, a daycare and a busy alley full of kids walking home from school.

An innocent bystander was grazed by gunfire on May 6 during a shooting near King Street and East Avenue downtown. One man was later arrested and charged with this shooting. However, a second suspect remains at large.

As a result of the increase in shootings, Hamilton Police made its Shooting Response Team a permanent arm of their Investigative Services Division. This team began as a year-long pilot project to investigate non-lethal shootings.

It has investigated 62 shootings since its inception and charged 27 people with 255 offences. More than half of these suspects already face firearms charges before their arrest by the Shooting Response Team.

“Shootings, whether or not they result in a victim, severely undermine our community’s sense of safety. The Shooting Response Team dedicates investigative resources to address these incidents and apprehend those responsible,” Superintendent Marty Schulenberg.

Victims and witnesses tend not to cooperate with police investigations. However, in one recent case, witnesses preserved evidence to aid investigators.

Three shootings remain under investigation in the city.

In the latest, on May 17, shots were fired in a residential neighbourhood near Sherman Avenue South and Main Street East. A family came home from a long weekend away and discovered shell casings in their yard. Security footage from a neighbouring home recorded three unidentified men fleeing the scene.

On May 13, shots were fired near Barton Street East and Kinrade Avenue. Witnesses in the neighbourhood said several parties exchanged gunfire. Investigators found bullets in buildings, vehicles, garages and on the road.

Finally, on May 10, a shooter in an SUV fired several rounds at the entrance to the apartment building at 30 Congress Cres. The SUV was last seen fleeing east from the building.

No one was physically hurt in any of these three incidents. The perpetrators of all three remain at large.

“Someone knows these individuals who are carrying loaded firearms with no regard for public safety. We urge the community to do the right thing and come forward to assist with these investigations,” Bergen concluded.

Anyone with information can call police at 905-546-4883 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

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