Head of police union says downtown shooting is evidence gang unit is short staffed

Head of police union says downtown shooting is evidence gang unit is short staffed
Police search for suspects following shooting along 17th Avenue SW
Police are investigating a shooting in the citys southwest that sent two men to hospital on Wednesday evening.

Emergency crews responded to the 1000 block of 17 Avenue S.W. just after 9:30 p.m. after receiving reports of multiple shots fired in the area.

EMS transported two men, both in their 30s, to Foothill Medical Centre in stable, non-life threatening condition. Both of the men were suffering from a gunshot wound.

"The vehicle was parked in the parking lot," said Derek Boe. "Five loud shots went off. It was echoing. It was very loud actually considering Ive heard a few gunshots in my life. It was very loud and then three men ran around the corner there. No one was hurt as far as I could tell. They yelled at the car across the way and it drove around the corner and picked them up around from Waves Coffee here."

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 403-266-1234, or Crime Stoppers anonymously using any of the following methods:

A bullet went through the window of the Daily Globe News shop on 17th Avenue S.W. during an incident on Wednesday, October 10, 2018.

Members of the Calgary Police Service in the 1000 block of 17 Ave SW during the investigation into a shooting

A flight from Dallas to Beijing was detoured to Alberta Thursday afternoon following a medical emergency and a mechanical issue.

Calgary police cordon off the scene of a shooting on 17th Avenue S.W. between 9th and 9A Streets on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018.

Calgary’s police union boss says a downtown shooting Wednesday night shows the effect of police understaffing when it comes to combating violent crime.

Police are investigating after gunshots rang out in the 1000 block of 17th Avenue S.W. around 9:40 p.m.

Alberta Health Services say two men in their 30s were taken to hospital with gunshot wounds, adding they were both in stable condition.

Derek Boe, who works in the area, said he heard five shots before seeing three people running away. Boe then saw them yell to a vehicle, which sped around the corner to pick them up before fleeing the scene.

Mike Nunn, communications manager with the police service, said the shooting investigation is still underway and police “have not been able to determine motive or if the shooting was targeted.”

But Les Kaminski, president of the Calgary Police Association and former member of the gang suppression team, told Postmedia the incident is an example of the effect reduced funding to the gang unit is having in Calgary.

“We warned them violent crime and gang activity would increase because of this. Unfortunately, we’re right,” Kaminski said in a statement. “The criminals who are committing these violent crimes in public areas have zero regard if an innocent citizen is caught in the crossfire.”

Kaminski also doubled down on comments made in September calling for the resignation of police commission chair Brian Thiessen, pointing to a police commission survey released in July showing “violent crime and gang activity” are major concerns for Calgarians.

Nunn said the gang unit has been working at reduced staff levels for at least six years, but added the service is looking to fill at least one additional position on the team.

“Like other units in the service, they are not currently at full operational strength, but we are working hard to address needs here and throughout the organization,” he said.

Police continue to investigate the shooting and ask witnesses to contact the non-emergency line at 403-266-1234 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.