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Chief reassures Calgarians after Kensington shooting leaves one dead

Calgary’s police chief said that a recent spate of violence is disconcerting for citizens, but that progress is being made on the crime front.

Calgary police Chief Mark Neufeld spoke with media just outside a home Thursday afternoon where you could see bullet holes in the windows.

The Calgary police homicide unit is continuing its investigation in the area after a shooting death Wednesday evening.

According to police, officers were initially called to the 400 block of 10 Street NW around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, after reports of gunshots in the area. At roughly the same time, the driver of a black SUV approached on-duty Calgary Fire Department members in the 1000 block of 6 Avenue SW. They were seeking help for a passenger in the vehicle that had been shot.

Calgary firefighters attempted to save the man’s life, but the victim later died at the scene.

According to police, the driver of the vehicle fled the area before CPS could arrive.

A witness that spoke with LiveWire Calgary, who didn’t want to provide their name as a precautionary measure, was in the area just to use the washroom at the Kensington Safeway (400 block of 10 Street NW).

“After the first ‘pop, pop, pop’ I kind of walked up the street a few feet where there’s a bit of a barrier because I couldn’t identify exactly where the shots were coming from initially,” the witness said.

“But I went up the street where there’s more walls so there’s fewer directions for bullets to come from.”

The witness said that after the initial shots, there were additional shots fired in the direction of 3 Avenue and 9A Street NW. Bullet holes were seen in a home on the corner in the area.

“You’re kind of incredulous about the whole thing to begin with when these things happen,” the witness said.

‘Struck a chord’

Police investigate the crime scene at 3 Avenue NW, Calgary, Alberta on April 13, 2023. JAS MANN/FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

Chief Neufeld said he wanted to reassure Calgarians that what the city is experiencing is not unusual when compared with what’s happening across Canada.

“We’re seeing progress in the numbers, but this cluster right here has struck a chord with Calgarians for sure. And, it struck a chord with me,” said Neufeld.

“These incidents are terribly concerning. There’s no question about that, and the violence in our city is not OK.”

While there’s a perception crime is getting out of control, Neufeld said that shootings in the city are down 42 per cent compared with the same time in 2022.

Chief Neufeld also said that the Kensington shooting and the one on a city bus the day prior were both targeted.

“It’s not the people that are going to the grocery store, or going to enjoy a restaurant or enjoy the community in whatever way that they do that are experiencing these levels of violence,” he said.

“What happened here last night is known individuals who targeted one another.”

Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek also expressed her concern after the recent gun violence. She said both the CPS and the police commission are digging into how much of the violence is random and how much is connected to organized crime.

“The brazenness sometimes comes with the type of gang activity we’ve seen in the past,” she said.

Community anxiety

Madeline Tait, a college student living in the area said she didn’t know where to go due to the violence happening around the city.

“I moved here because the area looked so safe and calm. Now I really don’t know how to feel or what to do,” she said. 

“It feels like I have to tiptoe the whole city. Nowhere feels safe these days.”

Cindy Lester, a resident of Kensington Village, expressed her concern about the sudden spike in crime in transit.

“Police should be patrolling Lions Park Station and Sunnyside Station 24 hours a day. They should be in transit at all times where they know these things have happened,” said Lester.

“It’s scary how crime has escalated so much in the last two days.”

Officers continue to search the Kensington area for more evidence and to ensure no bystanders were injured in the shooting.

An autopsy had been scheduled for later Thursday to ID the victim. Those details will be released once the next of kin are notified.

Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call Calgary police at 403-266-1234.