Mayor calls for tougher laws on illegal guns after deadly shooting in St. Catharines

St. Catharines Mayor Walter Sendzik said stronger laws focused on illegal guns are needed after one person was killed and two others injured in a shooting in the city early Sunday morning.

“I am angered by this shooting. I know the NRP are working non-stop to find those responsible for the shooting and to bring them to justice. But my anger will not result in less gun-based violence,” Sendzik said in a statement issued on social media.

“We need to do more as a society. We need stronger laws focused on illegal gun trafficking, illegal gun ownership and illegal use of a firearm. We need a justice system that enforces stiff penalties on those who break our laws. We need to focus on the root causes of gun-based violence within our communities.”

Niagara Regional Police said they were called to the area of Lake Street and Pleasant Avenue at 3:40 a.m. for reports of a shooting.

One person was pronounced dead at the scene. Two others were taken to hospital.

The second person was then transported to an out-of-town hospital for treatment for serious injuries. The third person is being treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

The NRP’s homicide unit is appealing for any witnesses or for anyone in the area who has dashcam or surveillance video to contact police.

Sunday’s shooting was the second violent incident involving guns in St. Catharines in just over a month.

On May 11, police were called to Fairview Mall on Geneva Street where Karat Jewellers had been robbed at gun point. Two people inside the store were sprayed with a substance believed to be bear spray. A third person, the owner of the family-run store, was shot in the leg outside the mall entrance after the suspects were chased to the parking lot. Two suspects are still being sought and the case remains open.

The federal government tabled legislation in May to freeze the sale of handguns as early as this fall in new measures that would prevent the purchase, sale and transfer of handguns.

Sendzik said while he personally supports the banning of handguns, he recognizes a hand gun ban will not reduce the use of illegal hand guns unless laws are better designed and fully applied in courts.

“Other countries have created pathways that have greatly reduced gun violence and we can do the same. It will take all order of government to achieve it and it is something that we should all be demanding.”

The area around Lake and Pleasant was closed to traffic Sunday while detectives investigated and the forensics team processed the scene. Police said no other information is being released at this time.

The death is the third homicide to occur in Niagara in 2022.

On April 8, a teenager was killed and two others injured following a shooting near Great Canadian Midway on Clifton Hill. All three are under the age of 18 and from outside Niagara. No arrests have been made.

On April 30, a 50-year-old man was found dead following a disturbance at a residence on Division Street in Welland. A man was arrested at the scene and charged with second degree murder.

Police are asking anyone with information regarding Sunday’s incident to contact Det. Sgt. David Pierini at 905-688-4111, ext. 1009134.

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