Calgary police have arrested one suspect after a weekend that saw three shootings and two men left with serious injuries.
The surge of gun violence is renewing concerns of rising organized crime in the city’s northeast.
One victim remains in critical condition as a result of the weekend’s second shooting early Sunday morning in Martindale. Calgary police received reports of a home invasion where a man was shot at a residence in the 0 to 100 block of Martin Crossing Park N.E. Officers are still investigating two other shootings, one that took place Saturday and another that left a man in serious condition Sunday evening.
Northeast resident Harcharan Singh Parhar said community members were relieved during a short-lived lull in gun violence but they’re back on high alert after the weekend. He said it isn’t an issue that can be put to rest easily.
“We are seeing that the protests and seminars are not working as long-term solutions to handle this problem effectively,” Parhar said Monday, speaking of the workshops, town halls and a rally during the summer meant to address concerns of organized crime.
“We were thinking perhaps the criminals changed their strategy, they’re drug dealing secretly and silently without guns. Maybe seeing people protesting and talking about it did make them change their strategy. But now with the three shootings this weekend, we are worried.”
Ward 5 Coun. George Chahal has spearheaded much of the community engagement between Calgary police, politicians and community members on the topic of gun violence.
“We need to come together as all levels of government. I think we’ve failed the public on this issue and it starts with the federal and provincial government, and right here locally where this gun violence is happening. We’ve seen it increase significantly in our city,” Chahal said.
Chahal has heard the voices of his constituents for months calling for further action by council and police. He’s been researching effective legislation and realizes gun violence was a talking point during the election campaign for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who won a minority government.
In September, Trudeau announced a promise to allow municipalities the ability to restrict or ban handguns, as well as review rules on how guns are marketed, advertised and sold.
“We are still looking at what the federal government will do and what powers they’ll put forward to municipalities. That is definitely in consideration as well as how we deal with that. Do we look at civil penalties and forfeiture, or do we look at other mechanisms to deal with criminals who are doing this elicit gun-running?” said Chahal.
Parhar will also be watching to see if Trudeau keeps his word and what tougher gun control could mean for Calgary. He isn’t convinced politicians understand the seriousness of the situation.
“There’s easy access to weapons that needs to be controlled,” he said. “Politicians do speak out when something happens but there isn’t a real plan on how to stop this. They’re the ones who should come to the table with ideas because they’re the lawmakers.”
The most up-to-date data CPS released on shootings showed that officers have investigated 60 shootings between Jan. 1 and Aug. 19.
Calgary police arrested and charged Bangamin Salviu Anny, 28, of Calgary, with firearm-related charges in relation to the Martindale shooting. Officers connected the shooting to a separate incident that occurred in a home along Martinwood Mews N.E. and also executed a search warrant in the 0 to 100 block of Woodview Terrace S.W., where Anny was found and arrested.
Staff Sgt. Greg Cooper of CPS’s guns and gangs unit said any level of violence is deemed unacceptable and his team of 18 officers is committed to improving safety. But they also rely heavily on the public for tips on suspicious activity.
“We have identified a number of individuals that we believe to be involved or have the potential to be involved in violent incidents and we’re targeting them through different tactics to ensure we address any propensity for violence.”
Cooper said there isn’t evidence of a connection between the three shootings this weekend, however, most of the shootings that occur in the city are targeted attacks.
“They’re not random in nature. We work day-in and day-out to address these incidents to ensure the safety of Calgarians,” said Cooper.
— With files from Meghan Potkins
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