Gun violence on the rise in Saskatoon
On Tuesday, Brandin Cole Brick was scheduled to make a first court appearance after being arrested over the weekend without incident and charged in the death of James Chaisson, 28, Saskatoon’s first homicide of 2018.
Authorities have since laid additional charges against Brick including kidnapping, breach of recognizance, and possession of a firearm while prohibited.
At the time of Chaisson’s death, police would not say the nature of his injuries, but are now confirming the homicide involved a gun.
Saskatoon is no stranger to gun violence. The level of violence on our streets, say Saskatoon police, is escalating along with the resources dedicated to solving the crimes.
“We front-end load that with as many resources as we need to get the investigation underway as quickly as we can, gain some momentum and identify the people that are involved as quickly as possible,” said Supt. Dave Haye, who is with criminal investigation.
“In this latest case we had some success with that process.”
As gun violence goes up so too does the threat level to both the public and police leaving many wondering where these guns are coming from.
“The firearms we’re recovering generally come from break and enters.”
Haye said of the firearms police recover, few are ones that have been smuggled in from the United States or were stolen in another province.
The biggest concern is when guns end up in the wrong hands and are then converted into something even more dangerous.
“Either through sawing off the barrel or sawing off the stock and they’re made into a sawed-off shot rifle, sawed-off shotgun and that’s problematic too because sometimes they interfere with the safety mechanism of the weapons,” Haye said.
“So they’re not safe weapons when they’re like that and they’re very dangerous to the public when they’re used.”
Shootings in Saskatoon are often gang related, say police, and guns are often recovered when a suspect is apprehended for a completely different crime like evading police.
“Generally crime guns – show up at other crimes.”
It also appears law enforcement may be gaining ground on the firearms front. While these numbers on the surface may seem discouraging, Haye said police are heading in a positive direction.
Since 2016, the number of firearms recovered by police is on the decline as well as the number of guns reported stolen.
The public is also encouraged to do their part and call in illegal firearms either directly to police or through Crime Stoppers so the gun and gangs unit can investigate, no questions asked.
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