Calgary police are warning guns are increasingly being used in crimes committed by people outside of organized crime.
“While our city has seen a rise in gun violence and shootings this year, it’s important to note that not all shootings can be attributed to true organized crime,” Insp. Jodi Gach of the CPS organized crime and offender management section said in a statement Wednesday.
“What we are seeing now is firearms being used in the commission of all types of crime, by offenders who are not organized crime offenders.”
Gach said there have been 91 shootings in the city so far in 2022. In the same time period last year, only 51 shootings took place, and 96 in all of 2021.
The CPS inspector said a vast majority of shootings involved people outside organized crime, noting police have not seen an increase in gang activity.
“We can say that less than 25 per cent (of shootings) are related to organized crime activity and the remaining 75 per cent have motivations that include drugs, accidental discharge, road rage, personal disputes, where offenders are not connected to organized crime,” Gach said at a news conference Wednesday.
“I think we have both a gang problem and we have a gun problem. So there’s more access to guns – there’s more guns that are readily available.”
She said it was unclear whether the handguns in the investigations were legally obtained.
A temporary federal handgun import ban was announced on Aug. 5, and will come into effect on Friday.
Gach said there’s a clear trend in the city.
“People who historically wouldn’t have been using guns have elevated their level of violence in community and to commit crimes.”
CPS have prioritized the investigation and enforcement of gun violence in 2022, and Wednesday released information about a number of incidents they believe to have connections to organized crime. Nine people face a combined 120 charges, and 10 guns were recovered.
On July 13, a loaded 9mm handgun was seized using a search warrant on a home on Covecreek Mews N.E. Investigators believe the gun was used in a late night Saddleridge shooting on April 6, where police said over 35 rounds were fired from four different guns, striking 10 homes and three vehicles.
Nesheir Mohammed, 24, was charged with five firearms charges from the seizure.
The investigation from the April shooting is ongoing, and anyone with information are asked to contact police or Crime Stoppers.
Loaded in luggage
A loaded Glock-brand handgun was discovered inside checked luggage at Calgary International Airport. Airport security notified police, who took the person into custody without incident.
Samuel Deverze, 31, was charged with five firearms charges following that incident.
Traffic stop gun
A towed vehicle following a traffic stop was where a loaded .380 Ruger handgun was discovered on April 29. The organized crime response unit searched an apartment in the 500 block of 6 Avenue S.E., finding $5,000-worth of drugs and more than $30,000 cash.
Masood Mohammad, 28, received 11 firearms- and drugs-related charges following that search warrant.
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Two loaded semiautomatic handguns were found in a vehicle at a traffic stop. Members of the violent crime suppression team stopped the individual they believed to be in violation of parole.
Ahed Alwan, 26, faces 16 firearms charges.
Months-long investigation nets guns, armour
A three-month investigation netted four loaded and one unloaded gun, a high-capacity magazine, body armour and drugs from individuals believed to be associated with an organized crime group.
John Ochelo, 27, Shaylon Smuts, 28, Dhia El-Have Mohammed, 29, and Feysal Abdul-Aziz, 29, have been charged with a combined 83 offences.
Abdoulaye Gadjiko, 24, remains wanted following the investigation. Gadjiko is described as 5-foot-9, 180 pounds with black hair, brown eyes and tattoos on his chest and forearms.
‘A trail of Calgarians impacted’
Calgary police ask anyone with information about incidents to contact police, saying their efforts to address gun violence rely on community support.
“While motivation for gun violence varies, each incident leaves a trail of Calgarians impacted,” Gach said. “In each case, there are witnesses, family members, neighbours and business owners who deal with the consequences of this reckless violence.”
Information about the above or other incidents can be given to police by calling 403-266-1234 or via Crime Stoppers.