Ottawa police have boosted their presence in at least three neighbourhoods following five recent incidents in which shots were fired at homes, says the lead investigator.
No one was injured in the shootings, which Insp. Carl Cartright says are likely the result of disputes between rival gang members.
"These individuals know each other," said Cartright. "These are groups of individuals involved in criminal activity. This is gang related."
Cartright said the five following shootings are connected:
July 29 at 2 a.m. in the 100 block of Ritchie Street.
July 28 at 4 a.m., in the 800 block of Pinecrest Road.
July 27 at 12 a.m. on Woodridge Crescent.
July 26 at 1 a.m. in the 1200 block of Summerville Avenue.
July 25 at 11:40 p.m. in the 1100 block of Ritchie Street.
In all five incidents the shooter used a handgun, and while Cartright says he doesn't believe the shooters were aiming at people, the cases are still being treated very seriously.
"Some people might say 'Well, it's just a house that was fired at.' But there was somebody in that house, there's somebody in that neighbourhood," he said.
"Once that projectile leaves that firearm, there's no control of it. And that's what concerns us, the flagrant use of those firearms."
No arrests had been made as of Wednesday evening, but Cartright said the Ottawa Police Service was working closely with police Greater Toronto Area to investigate possible links.
"We have a number of persons of interest and we're actively working those leads," he said.
Police presence increased
Cartright said in response to the spree of shootings, Ottawa police have increased the frequency of both uniformed and undercover patrols in the targeted areas.
"Clearly this needed additional resources. We've implemented our resources, so you're going to see a 24/7 presence in the area," said Cartright.
The force is also in greater contact with community associations in the affected neighbourhoods in an effort to prevent further shootings, he said.
"We have a responsibility as a police service not only to solve the crimes. We need to prevent the crimes from happening," said Cartright.
In addition to the five related shootings, a 21-year-old man was also found dead behind an Ottawa school this week after being shot.
Police say the death of Mohamed Hassan is being treated as a homicide.