By all accounts, the wedding went off without a hitch – but the reception ended in horror when shots were fired in the parking lot on Saturday evening, leaving two guests dead and six others injured.
It was around 10:20 p.m. when wedding guests inside and outside heard gunshots that sent them running in fear for their lives. Panicked, they sought shelter wherever they could. Some guests and vendors in the lobby thought the shootings had taken place indoors because others who had been outside ran inside for shelter, screaming and shouting about the shootings.
A woman at the wedding reception said everything was fine until she heard the “clap, clap, clap” of gunfire outside.
“Then I see people running and screaming and screaming that someone got shot. We hid in the washroom (until everything was clear). “It’s so scary that people were shot and an innocent girl’s wedding was ruined,” said the woman, who, like many of those interviewed by the Citizen, asked not to be named out of fear following the multiple shootings.
She said police responded quickly to the attack, which occurred at the Infinity Convention Center on Gibford Drive in south Ottawa near Uplands Drive and Hunt Club Road.
Two wedding guests, Said Mohamed Ali, 26, and Abdishakur Abdi-Dahir, 29, were shot dead in the parking lot. Both were from Toronto. Six other people were treated in hospital for non-life-threatening wounds.
Ottawa Police Duty Insp. Amy Bond described the shootings as tragic, traumatic and unacceptable. “It’s troubling for our entire community,” Bond said Sunday.
Bond said the murder investigation has so far revealed no evidence that the shootings were motivated by hate or that a specific community was targeted. Police Chief Eric Stubbs told this newspaper at the scene Sunday afternoon that there had been no arrests. He later told CTV that “the connection between guns and gangs in this case will be thoroughly investigated.”
As of early Sunday evening, police had not released a description of the suspect.
Police are asking for the public’s help and would like to hear from anyone who has video from the area between 10pm and 10.30pm on Saturday.
On Sunday afternoon, several guests and vendors returned to the convention center to pick up their vehicles from the parking lot, which was cordoned off with caution tape. One by one they were escorted by police to collect their vehicles.
Forensic investigators searched the crime scene and investigators began interviewing witnesses to solve Ottawa’s 12th and 13th murders of 2023.
The convention hall is popular for wedding receptions with two hotels just a stone’s throw away. In fact, two weddings took place in the hall on Saturday evening.
The DJ at the other wedding said that immediately after the shots were fired, the fire alarm outside began to ring. Both wedding receptions came to an abrupt halt around 10:21 p.m. as people took cover and hid until it was safe – about five minutes later, according to a vendor hiding in the washroom.
Police searched the area around the convention hall, including the two hotels and a strip plaza. Staff heard the shots but saw nothing before wedding guests began rushing around the parking lot following the shots.
There is no immediate danger to the population, the police said.
Jessica Bradley, Ottawa city councilor for the Gloucester-Southgate ward, described the shooting as “a very tragic incident, at a wedding of all things.”
“One shooting in one community is too many…Whether it’s related or not, this is happening in our backyard and people are concerned,” said Bradley, who wanted the public to know “we live in a safe community despite everything.” . “Incidents we have seen.”
“(But) there is no reassuring news at the moment,” the councilor said.
The police are asking for any witness reports.
A “Just Married” sign hung on the tailgate of a parked car in the parking lot of a hotel on Sunday afternoon. When asked if the shootings were related to that wedding, a man who got out of the car replied, “No, fortunately.”
Anyone with information is asked to call homicide detectives at 613-236-1222, ext. 5493.
-With files from Ashley Fraser.
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https://torontosun.com:443/news/local-news/two-people-killed-several-injured-in-shooting-in-uplands-area/wcm/6e2d4295-c73e-442c-993f-a784db9b0844 Police identify two Toronto men killed in a shooting at a wedding in Ottawa