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Police took 3½ hours to visit an apartment complex after shots were fired. Residents want to know why

Jordan Tobin bolted upright from his sleep when he heard a loud bang in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Then he heard another one. And another. And about a half-dozen more after that.

When the loud bangs abruptly gave way to the screeching tires of a fleeing vehicle, Tobin sprinted from his bedroom to the lobby next door.

“There were bullets everywhere. Glass everywhere. Holes everywhere. Just not a scene you want to walk into in the lobby of your apartment building,” Tobin said.

He ran back to his apartment, grabbed his phone placed a 911 call around 2:45 a.m.

“I called the police immediately and described exactly what happened [and] told them it is absolutely urgent they get here as soon as possible,” Tobin said.

Tobin said nobody showed up until after 6 a.m — more than 3½ hours after he placed the first call. 

Tobin ran to his lobby after hearing loud bangs. He discovered it was riddled with bullet holes. (Jordan Tobin/Facebook)

Const. James Cadigan, spokesperson for the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, said police received several calls about “noises consistent with gunshots” in the area at 2:45 a.m., but found only a burning car nearby.

“The investigation at that time did not detect evidence, or locate damage related to those reports [of gunshots],” Cadigan said.

Cadigan said it’s too early to know if the burning car was linked to the shooting, but it was less than 300 metres from the apartment complex.

Police finally arrived at the apartment building after 6:20 a.m., when they got a report of “property damage, believed to be gunshots.”

Police stayed at the scene at of the shooting at this apartment building on Thorburn Road throughout Thursday. (Danny Arsenault/CBC)

That’s not good enough for Tobin, who said he gave police his address, told them the shots were fired at his building, and waited — surrounded by bullet holes and broken glass — for more than an hour. He doesn’t understand how the RNC didn’t find evidence of a shooting after his original call. He worries what could have happened if the shooter had still been in the building.

“That doesn’t make me feel safe. I doubt it makes anyone in here feel safe,” Tobin said.

Police are urging anyone with information or video from the area around the time of the shooting to come forward.

‘Reckless’ shootings on the rise

Thursday’s shooting was at least the third in a string of gun violence in recent weeks. It comes five days after a Paradise shooter left one person in hospital, and 13 days after gunshots in the Galway neighbourhood of St. John’s.

No arrests have been made in any of the three cases. Cadigan said they’re being investigated as separate incidents right now, and noted the most recent shooting is still in the early stages of investigation.

“It certainly would seem there’s a trend of firearms offences as of late,” Cadigan said. “You can just look back to a couple of months ago when the street crimes unit did detect essentially a firearms manufacturing ring. We did seize over 120 firearms — illegal firearms — as well as 3D printing devices. So we know these criminal networks are present and we are working to detect them.”

A Royal Newfoundland Constabulary officer takes pictures of bullet holes at 78 Thorburn Rd. Officers were busy Thursday morning cutting bullets from the walls around the lobby of the building. (Danny Arsenault/CBC)

Cadigan said it’s evident these “networks” are acting out of desperation, leading to bold and reckless acts.

None has been more brazen than Thursday’s shooting, which left bullet holes in lobby walls that run adjacent to people’s apartments. Tobin said there were four bullets in a wall that backs on to an apartment belonging to a woman and her teenage daughter.

Tobin said he feels fine to continue living in the building, but had a message for the shooter or shooters.

“Give your head a shake. Stop being so careless. Stop being so reckless. If you don’t care about your own life, at least care about the lives of others,” he said. “You put a lot of innocent people at risk. It’s just completely unnecessary.”

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador


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