Police turn to public for help after four weekend shootings

Megan Gillis,Ottawa Citizen

Police are mobilizing every resource to investigate four shootings that happened on Sunday, including the nightclub killing of a known gang member in which an armed suspect is still at large, brass told a hastily arranged press conference Monday.

Potential links between the incidents of gunplay are being investigated and police are asking anyone with information to come forward – while promising to protect them from any retaliation – and reassuring all Ottawans that the city remains safe.

But in three decades of policing, Supt. Don Sweet said he doesn’t think he’s ever seen four shootings in the span of 12 or 13 hours.

Police rallied officers from forensics, guns and gangs, general investigations and patrol over multiple scenes with lots of evidence and witnesses, Sweet said.

He said he’s confident there will be an arrest soon in the homicide of Omar Rashid-Ghader, 33, who was shot multiple times inside the Sentral nightclub in the ByWard Market at about 3:20 a.m. Sunday.
A known association of the dead man, 28-year-old Mustafa Ahmed, is wanted for second-degree murder.

“He is considered armed and dangerous,” Sweet said. “Somebody knows where this person is. We have to get him off the street before any more damage occurs.”

Minutes after the killing, there was a drive-by shooting on Presland Road at Whitton Private. Two people were treated for minor injuries and released.

Another drive-by shooting happened at 5:15 a.m. in the 2600 block of Innes Road. No one was hurt when a house was shot at several times. Police believe it happened at a post-clubbing after-party but do not yet know if it’s related to the ByWard Market shooting.

Finally, shots were exchanged between two vehicles near Ogilvie Road and Cummings Avenue in Overbrook at 4:50 p.m. Police recovered an older-model silver Ford Mustang but are still looking for a grey Nissan Altima.

It is only sheer luck that no bystanders were hurt, Sweet said.

Repeatedly, he said that co-operation of victims was a “challenge” for police.

Chief Charles Bordeleau said that while he understands residents are concerned, the incidents were targeted shootings involving criminal activity and gang members.

“They are not random,” Bordeleau said at the Shaw Centre, where the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police is holding its national meeting.

Bordeleau said that Ottawa is not alone as urban police forces see an increase in gang-related shootings. Ottawa police are working with the RCMP and border forces to stem the flow of smuggled handguns, such as a recent arrest of someone bringing the illegal guns through Cornwall to Ottawa.

Bordeleau urged any witnesses to come forward despite what he called legitimate concerns that have been expressed about retribution for going to police.

“We can do things to prevent that,” he said, urging anyone with information to “take that one step.”

The chief said that police are working to ensure that Ottawa, which will soon be the focus of the nation’s 150th birthday celebrations, remains a safe city.

“That’s not something we can do alone,” he said. “We need help from the community.”

Mayor Jim Watson said Monday the weekend shootings were alarming.

“There’s no question the situation on the weekend was very frightening and very disturbing. Even though Ottawa is a safe community by all standards in North America – one of the safest – when you see that kind of violence and murder and guns being shot randomly, that’s a concern,” Watson said.

It’s why police budgeted to hire 25 new officers this year and the city put more money into anti-gang initiatives, Watson said.
Watson is encouraging people to call police with any information to help investigators. Families should be pressured to find out if their children have guns, he said.

“If they know their child has a gun, they should be contacting the police. There’s no room for people to have handguns in an urban setting like the City of Ottawa,” Watson said.

“We are a safe city, but people don’t feel safe when they see this kind of brazen activity taking place in a crowded bar or residential street.”

Indian Government launches Ten Year Multiple Entry Visa for Canadians

10-Year multiple-entry Tourist and Business Visa is being introduced for Canadian nationals with immediate effect, announced Mr. Vishnu Prakash, the Indian High Commission in Ottawa.

“Fulfilling a promise made by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his recent historic visit to Canada, the Government of India is now accepting applications for ten year multiple entry visas for Canadians,”  says Minister of National Defence and Minister for Multiculturalism.

Prime Minister Modi made the commitment while joined by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in front of a crowd of over 10,000 Canadians of Indian origin in Toronto in April of this year.

Tourist Visa

 

The Tourist Visa (TV) is meant for visiting India for recreation, sightseeing or meeting friends and relatives, but for no other purpose.

Apparently the Indian government has been angry about some people using their visa to carry out journalist assignments and indulge in other activities without permission.

Requirements:

* Duly completed visa application form.

* Two recent passport size (51mm x 51mm) colour photos showing full frontal face against a white background. One photo needs to be pasted on the application form and other enclosed separately.

* Passport with minimum of six months’ validity and at least two blank pages.

* Proof of address.

* For persons who have held an Indian passport in past – proof of renunciation of Indian citizenship and immigration status at time of arrival in Canada.

* Fees: $202 plus processing fee of BLS International Services Canada Inc.

 

Business Visa

 

The Business Visa (BV) is meant for visiting India for business and trade purposes.

Requirements:

* Duly completed Business Information Sheet.

* A letter of request from the applicant’s company / organization in Canada.

* An invitation letter from Indian company indicating the nature of applicant’s business with India, probable duration of stay, the places and firms to be visited in India.

* Fees: $308 plus processing fee of BLS International Services Canada Inc.

* Requirements as given above for Tourist Visa.

* More details about BV are available at https://www.mha.nic.in/pdfs/work_visa_faq.pdf

 

Important Information and Highlights

 

* The period of continuous stay during each visit will not exceed 180 days.

* Registration with concerned FRRO / FRO will be required for continuous stay exceeding 180 days.

* It is advisable to apply for visa at least 15 days before your intended date of travel.

* Online Visa application form is available on websitehttp://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/

* Submit the printout of the duly completed and signed online visa forms along with supporting documents at one of the offices of the Indian High Commission’s outsourcing agents, BLS International. Their office addresses, timings phone numbers and e-mail address can be found at http://www.blsindia-canada.com/contactus.php

* The duration and number of entries of the visa issued is completely at the discretion of Indian High Commission / Consulates.

* You may also visit High Commission of India, Ottawa’s website atwww.hciottawa.ca, Consulate General of India, Toronto’s website atwww.cgitoronto.ca and Consulate General of India, Vancouver’s website atwww.cgivancouver.org or the outsourcing agency M/s BLS International Services Canada Inc. at their website www.blsindia-canada.com for details.