Downtown business owner reflects on morning of St. Catharines shooting
A downtown business owner is reflecting on what he saw during the morning six people were wounded by gunfire in St. Catharines.
A large crowd of approximately 50 people had gathered across the street as owner of Ludology Boardgame Cafe Josh Boycott and members of his team were closing shop around 2:30 a.m.
He says that's when he heard somewhere between 6 - 9 shots ring out, which at first sounded like a rapid succession of fireworks.
"It's not like people were dramatically waving guns around, or this was someone driving by and causing a problem. This was in a crowd, a very personal situation that just got carried out way too far and way too aggressively. And in a split second, 50 people are running away."
He tells CKTB's Larry Fedoruk it wasn't long before a crowd of people started to gather again to take stock of the injuries.
Six people were taken to hospital with gunshot wounds, with two people taken to out-of-region hospitals after sustaining serious injuries.
Yesterday police officials confirmed all victims are expected to survive.
It was a busy weekend in the city as hundreds of people had been celebrating the Niagara Grape and Wine Festival in Montebello Park hours before.
Boycott says he had noticed increased police presence in the downtown core throughout the night and into the early part of the morning.
"There was a cruiser that went by 30 seconds before. There was another group of them right around the corner, there were paramedics right near by. But deterrents only work when you have rational, calm human beings. If we had nothing but calm, rational human beings we'd probably never have violent crime."
The latest shooting falls almost one year after a separate, but similar incident downtown. On September 23rd, 2018 a 24 year old man was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries after a shooting in the St. Paul Street area.
Local residents have been expressing concerns, wondering if the downtown is still safe.
Mayor Walter Sendzik has responded, maintaining that we still live in a safe community while speaking to CKTB's Tim Denis yesterday morning.
"Downtown is getting nicer and nicer, it's probably the nicest it has been in my lifetime," Boycott says. "But you still get little holdovers of stuff like this going on and a lot of people who are there aren't necessarily local, so they haven't had the same vested interest in what's going on, they don't care as much, and it's a shame."
Police are still searching for two suspects and ask any witnesses, particularly witnesses with videos of the incident, to contact them.
Witnesses can call police at 905-688-4111, dial option 3, Badge #9451 or email Jordan.Atkinson@niagarapolice.ca
To leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers call 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or go to www.niagaratips.ca
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