Admits to worrying stray bullets could cause harm, but cautions recent cases not random
The chief of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary said officers will be relentless in their pursuit of the parties responsible for recent shooting incidents in St. John’s.
“I guess my message to those that are involved in that criminal activity — keep looking over your shoulder, because we’re going to be relentless until we find you,” said Chief Robert Johnston, speaking with reporters at RNC headquarters this afternoon.
A man was seriously injured the evening of Nov. 11 after he was shot on William Heights. On Wednesday of this week, a man walked into the Health Sciences Centre and said he had been shot at and assaulted. The RNC said a vehicle parked at the hospital appeared to have been damaged by shotgun blasts.
No arrests have been made in either incident.
Johnston did not have many updates to provide in relation to either case. He did say the victim in the Wednesday evening incident did not appear to suffer gunshot wounds. He would not discuss in what area of the city the shots were fired.
“It’s important at this point not to get into any specific location where that took place, other than to say this individual showed up at the Health Sciences (Centre) complaining that he had gunshot wounds and damage to his vehicle, and we’re going to take it from there.”
Johnston took time to address the question of labelling incidents where a victim is targeted as a situation where there is no threat to public safety. In the case of the Nov. 11 incident, the RNC’s overnight report said it was “a targeted act of violence and no threat to public safety has been issued.”
“I worry about this,” he said. “I worry about the general public because I worry about a stray bullet hitting somebody else. That is a worry. In terms of saying the public is not at risk, (that) would not necessarily be correct ... There’s always a possibility that a stray bullet could hit somebody, and I worry about the fact that you’ve got some individual or individuals out in the community that appear to have very little or no barriers or boundaries in terms of what they are willing to do. They’re focused on individuals that they believe are causing them some conflict.”
Johnston said there is no information to indicate those involved in the recent incidents are randomly shooting at people.
“What we see is that we have an individual or individuals that are targeting specific people, and we believe that the motive is driven based on criminal activity.”