Calgary police: rash of shootings have ‘hallmarks of organized crime’

Since Nov. 10, Calgary police have responded to five shootings in the city, with the latest in Marlborough Park on Monday leaving a man dead. Calgary police say the rash of gunfire looks to be linked to organized crime.

It was at 2 p.m. on Monday when officers responded to reports of a shooting in a parking lot near the Trans Canada Shopping Centre which houses various fast food restaurants, shops, services, and a grocery store,

Police arrived to find one man dead and two other people with serious, life-threatening injuries.

Officers have since recovered the black truck which they believe was used to flee the scene by the shooters.

Watch: Spike in gun violence worrying Calgarians

Earlier Monday morning, Calgary police responded to an incident in the northwest community of Bowness where a man apparently knocked on the door of a home in the neighbourhood after being shot.

He was then taken to Foothills Hospital.

On Sunday, police attended a scene in MacEwan where two homes were hit by bullets just after 2 a.m.

No injuries were reported in this incident.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, Calgary police said suspects who were masked and armed broke into an Abbeydale home where five adults and two kids lived.

Investigators said the suspects demanded money and other items, assaulted two of the people in the house, and left.

Once outside, multiple gunshots were fired, striking neighbouring homes.

And, just before midnight on Thursday, three people were taken to hospital after a shooting incident in Marlborough that also involved a car colliding with a power pole.

In a media availability Monday, just hours after the deadly shooting in the northeast, Calgary police Supt. Cory Dayley said these shootings have all the hallmarks of organized crime

“We’re extremely concerned,” he said. “We’re working very hard with multiple teams around the clock over the last five days and prior on the previous shootings, to try and connect the dots and suppress any retaliatory violence that may come of these.”

Calgary police are asking anyone with information about the recent violent incidents to come forward to police.

In particular, they are looking for dashcam footage of Monday afternoon’s incident, specifically the area surrounding the Trans Canada Centre, located in the 1440 block 52 Street NE, between 1:40 and 2 p.m., the area surrounding Chinook Centre, located in the 6400 block of Macleod Trail SW, between 2:30 and 2:45 p.m., and the area surrounding the 3400 block of 30A Avenue SE, around 4 p.m.

A Calgary criminologist told CityNews he’s believes the rise in gun violence can be connected back to the increasing number of people coming to Alberta.

“‘Alberta is Calling’ has definitely had some unintended consequences and one of the major consequences is — I think — a rise in gang activity,” Dr. Ritesh Narayan said.

The campaign launched by then-premier Jason Kenney spent millions to advertise to skilled workers in Toronto and Vancouver, encouraging them to make the move to Alberta where there is no provincial sales tax, the cost to buy a home is lower, and the overall cost of living is less.

But gun violence advocacy groups like the Calgary Taxpayers Association argue that the spike in shootings in Calgary isn’t related to the provincial campaign and gangs, but a result of lack of enforcement.

“I believe the problem stems within the city,” spokesperson Shawna Easthope told CityNews. “There needs to be harsher punishments, they need to not have a catch-and-release for those that have committed these crimes.

“The situation is at a crisis level and it needs to be addressed immediately by the mayor and by city council,” she continued. “Not just dismissing it as ‘Oh, we have a public safety taskforce.'”

Narayan says there are concerning patterns in these incidents.

“The offenders are becoming more and more brazen, they’re there to send a very strong message to those that oppose them,” he explained. “Now in terms of opposition, those are generally other gangs, so I think the rift between the gangs and the competition between gangs has become very aggressive.”

Calgary police said they are consistently working to address organized crime-related violence.

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