The community of Stoney Creek are still coming to terms with the weekend’s horrific gun violence that left three people dead.
There are two investigations happening surrounding the incident. Hamilton Police are investigating the murder of the two people on Saturday evening. The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) is looking into the police shooting of the gunman that brought these events to an end later Saturday night.
When the gunfire broke out on Saturday, neighbours could hear the shots, some thinking at first they were firecrackers. One neighbour said, “It wasn’t fireworks it was gunshots. And then about 10:30 we were sitting out back and heard more gunshots, about seven to nine shots.”
A 27-year-old woman and her 28-year-old fiancé who were tenants in a basement apartment were shot and killed. Then, their landlord, a 57-year-old man, was shot and killed by police following a four-hour standoff.
As officials investigate, neighbours are providing a picture of how this tragedy unfolded. They say it started with the two tenants sitting in the yard listening to music. Police say there was a dispute with the landlord over a health issue in the basement apartment.
Neighbours say the male tenant was shot first, and the woman ran for her life into the yard. “We heard a woman scream or someone scream and we seen this man run back in, it was pretty scary.”
Kevin Jacusiw says he saw a man in a pickup truck on the scene and spoke with him shortly after the shooting. He says that the man told him he tried to help the woman. Jacusiw said, “They pulled up and he stopped here and the girl came running out of the house yelling for help and he yelled at her ‘get in the back of the truck’ and before she did he come out the front door and shot her in the back.”
The neighbours say there were people standing on the street shouting at the gunman at the time and say it took just minutes for police to arrive. The gunman went back inside his house and the standoff police started. The gunman was shot and killed by police as he fired at them.
There were no reports of any difficulty with the landlord before the shooting on Saturday. Neighbours say it was a quiet place that has never had any trouble. Police say the landlord who carried out these murders owned a number of registered guns, handguns and long guns.
Although police have not released the names of the victims, they did say the woman killed worked as an educational assistant. The Brant Haldimand Norfolk Catholic District School Board have confirmed with CHCH News that the woman was an educational assistant working for their board.
Multiple parents in Dunnville tell CHCH News that she worked at St. Michael’s Catholic Elementary School. The flag was at half mast at the school on Monday.
CHCH News spoke with one woman who said she knew the female victim and says she was a well-liked and hard-working educational assistant. She says children who knew her are devastated by the news. In an email to CHCH News, the school board says its compassionate care response team was available to support students and staff on Monday.
A letter was also sent out to parents from the Chair of the Board and the Director of Education. It reads in part, “We received the news of her passing through the media and want to share that, after connecting with Hamilton Police Services, the circumstances surrounding her death may be troublesome for some individuals… It is important after tragedies like this, that as a catholic community we come together to support one another through our faith. Please hold the individual and her family in your prayers.”
Police and the school board have not released the identity of the victims. Police did note that the male victim did work as an electrician.
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