With three people nursing gunshot wounds, sustained after five related gun calls in the span of 28 minutes in the city, Regina police are short on details but do say the victims were not necessarily targets.
Regina police investigating drive-by shootings
“These individuals, they just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and were walking down the street when this occurred,” Regina Police Service’s (RPS) deputy chief Dean Rae told reporters Wednesday.
Regina Police investigating several drive-by shootings that took place Tuesday
One day earlier, starting shortly after 10:30 p.m. Tuesday and ending just after 11 p.m., officers rushed to the scenes of five separate shootings. Three people went to hospital with what police described as non-fatal injuries.
The victim reportedly was leaving a home when a vehicle — which police say was described as a big, black four-door truck — stopped on the street in front of the house. Someone in the truck shot the man and the vehicle took off. He suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
“We believe there was a connection between all the incidents,” Rae said, noting each call is still being investigated individually. Police believe the same truck and suspects were involved in all of the shootings, but there is no indication of a connection between the victims at this time, he added.
“Any time we have incidents like this I think people should be concerned. We stress the public to be aware of their surroundings when they’re out and about and to take notice of that. If there’s any concern, please call us,” said Rae.
A 33-year-old man told police he was walking when a vehicle — described as a black, extended cab, Ford F-150 truck — pulled up beside him. The man said one of the occupants of the truck pointed what appeared to be a gun at the victim and demanded his property.
The first call came in at 10:40 p.m. sending officers to 14th Avenue and Reynolds Street for a report of a robbery. A 33-year-old man was walking in the area when a vehicle — described as a black, extended-cab F-150 truck — pulled up beside him. A person in the the truck pointed what appeared to be a gun and demanded the man’s personal property. The man complied and the truck fled.
Minutes later, at 10:51 p.m., police responded to a hospital for a report of a 29-year-old man injured by a gunshot. The victim was leaving a residence when a vehicle described as a “big black four-door truck” stopped in the 1900 block of Montreal Street. An occupant in the truck pointed a gun at the victim and fired. The vehicle once again fled.
A third call came in two minutes later when a person reported that a gun had been fired from a grey truck near 7th Avenue and Retallack Street. Police have few details on the shooting, as the person who called police refused to meet with officers. After going to the area, police could not find any physical evidence of a shooting.
Then at 11:06 p.m., police responded to 2nd Avenue and Garnet Street for a 38-year-old man who had been shot and injured. The victim described a newer, grey Ford F-150 that stopped beside him. A suspect inside the truck pointed a gun at the man and fired.
“These individuals just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and were walking down the street when this occurred,” Rae said during a media conference Wednesday.
The last call was at 11:08 p.m. when police responded to the area of 3rd Avenue and Athol Street for a 41-year-old man who had been shot. Police believe a grey Ford F-150 with a black stripe down the side stopped beside the victim. An occupant of the truck once again pointed a gun and fired.
According to Regina Police Service Deputy Chief Dean Rae, it’s safe to say these incidents were connected, but there isn’t any indication the victims knew each other.
As of Wednesday afternoon, police had not located any suspects and had no physical descriptions of them, but Rae said police believe they left the city. That same morning, Lumsden RCMP found an abandoned, stolen Ford F-150 truck northwest of Regina.
Police didn’t issue a news release about the shootings until 11 a.m. Wednesday, nearly 12 hours after incidents. When asked about the delay in alerting the public to the shootings, Rae said it seemed unnecessary because the suspects were seemingly gone from Regina.
“We didn’t see a need to send the media release out quite as early as immediately after that, so we waited until the morning,” he said.
There is no indication of gang involvement for now, said Rae, although the gang unit is involved in “certain aspects” of the investigation. Police aren’t sure what’s fuelled the spate of shootings.
“We have a lot of questions that we’re trying to answer. We have a lot of investigative tasks that we’re working towards,” said Rae. “We will do our best to solve these in as timely a manner as possible to ensure public safety.”
This spree comes just three days after Reginas third homicide this year, when 21-year-old Isaiah Terrel Akachuk was found lying injured on a sidewalk Saturday just after midnight on 7th Avenue between Garnet and Cameron Streets.
Rae said at the moment police “have nothing to indicate a connection” between the homicide and Tuesday night’s shootings. “We’re still working through that (homicide) investigation. Now we have these investigations to work through,” he said.
On Saturday, one resident reported hearing gunshots near the time Akachuk was found. RPS spokesperson Elizabeth Popowich declined to comment if Akachuk had been shot, saying the cause and manner of his death is under investigation by the office of the coroner, and is part of the police investigation. No arrests had been made as of late Wednesday afternoon.
Anyone who has information, or video, or may have witnessed even part of any of these events, is asked to contact the Regina Police Service at 306-777-6500, or your local law enforcement agency, or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).
Around the same time Akachuk was found dead, a woman was shot nearby, in the area of Dewdney Avenue and Garnet Street, in an incident involving aggressive driving. The woman told police she was driving when another vehicle gave chase.
While witnesses helped the woman, the suspect vehicle fled before police arrived. The woman went to hospital with serious injuries. Police learned the incident may have begun on the 1400 block of Edward Street.
Popowich said police have to consider similarities to other incidents such as proximity and time, but that shooting has not officially been linked to the killing of Akachuk.
There are no further details of the suspects to be shared with the public and its not known if the crimes are gang-related. The gang unit is involved in the investigations.
Regina police say three people were injured Tuesday during a string of shootings that may be related.
In each case, the victims described someone firing a gun from a Ford F-150 pickup truck, which was described as possibly grey or black in colour.
"They just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and were walking down the street when this occurred," he said.
A vehicle described as a black extended cab truck pulled up to the victim, a 33-year-old man. Someone in the truck pointed a gun at him and demanded his property. The man was robbed but was not injured as the truck sped off.
10:51 p.m.: Just a little over 20 minutes after this incident, police were called to a hospital where a 29-year-old man was being treated for a gunshot wound. The man had been outside of a home on the 1900 block of Montreal Street when a "big, black four-door truck" stopped in front of the home, followed by someone firing a gun at the man. The victim's injuries are described as non-life-threatening so far.
10:53 p.m.: Police received a call from someone who said a gun had been fired from a grey truck, with the shooting taking place around Seventh Avenue and Retallack Street. The caller refused to meet with police and offered no other details. There were no casings or evidence of a gun being fired and it's unknown if any injuries had occurred.
11:06 p.m.: Police were dispatched to the area of Second Avenue and Garnet Street. A 38-year-old man was injured but his injuries are deemed non-life-threatening at this point, according to police. The victim said a newer model grey F-150 stopped beside him and then someone fired a shot at him.
11:08 p.m.: Police were called to Third Avenue and Athol Street where a 41-year-old man was also shot and injured. A grey F-150 with a black stripe down the side stopped beside the man and then a gun was fired at him, striking and injuring him. His injuries are said to be serious but non-life-threatening at this point.
Regina police received a call Wednesday morning about a stolen F-150 that had been abandoned northwest of the city, according to Rae.
He said he couldn't immediately think of a similar incident involving a spate of gun-related violence in as compressed a time frame.
"I want the public to be aware of their surroundings when they're out, and if they see suspicious things going on in their community, to please phone us and we'll come out and we'll do our best to solve those and maintain everyone's security in our community," he said.
Police ask anyone who may have information or witnessed an event with a dark-coloured truck to contact the Regina Police Service at 306-777-6500 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.