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Jason Hallett would seem to lead a charmed life.

The 27-year-old was shot at three times this year. Apparently targeted because of a long-running local feud, he was hit twice but suffered no serious injuries.

But the latest shooting, a brazen attack last month outside a hospital for mothers and children, rattled the community and caused police to pour unprecedented resources into preventing more violence.

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The man charged in the three shootings appeared in court yesterday.

Aaron Marriott faces three counts of attempted murder and is to enter a plea next week.

The 18-year-old did not speak during his appearance, but mouthed the words "love you" to his girlfriend as he was led from court. He is to stay in custody until his next appearance.

Mr. Marriott was nabbed Thursday in Dartmouth, in the first known arrest since police stepped up efforts to stop the resumption of a long-standing, violent feud in a neighbourhood known as Spryfield.

The feud between two families and their associates, a rivalry that police say is rooted in the drug trade, has included drive-by shootings and fire-bombings.

The violence had subsided in the past two years, but never stopped.

Two of the incidents targeting Mr. Hallett occurred in the summer, and a spike in violence in the fall had police warning the feud was back.

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Violence increased last month after the release of Jimmy Melvin Jr., who had faced charges related to a home invasion until witnesses recanted their stories.

Within days, bullets flew in several locations.

Mr. Melvin's father was shot at outside a pizzeria. Mr. Hallett was targeted after visiting a hospital nursery, and Mr. Melvin himself was hit about two weeks later in the woods behind an apartment building.

Police believe the same faction was behind all the shootings.

Yesterday, Halifax Regional Police spokesman Constable Jeff Carr said the force continues to pour extra resources into clamping down on the feud. He warned that the problem has not been solved by the arrest of Mr. Marriott.

"The drug trade is a violent industry, it always has been and that's not about to change. We're not implying that violence is going to end."

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But police were pleased that a charge had been laid in the hospital attack, Constable Carr said.

"Basically, that shooting crossed the line. This was the first time it happened in a public place."

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