A man has died and six other victims sustained minor to serious injuries after a New Year's Eve party on a quiet residential street in Calgary ended in a hail of bullets.
The brazen attack took place just after 5 a.m. (MT) on Thursday at a house in the southwest Calgary neighbourhood of Killarney. Police would not divulge any information about the victims, who range in age from their early 20s to early 30s, and the suspect or suspects remain at large.
"At this time, we have more questions than answers," Duty Inspector Quinn Jacques of the Calgary Police Service said at a news conference on Thursday, where he sought to assure residents that their community remains safe.
Police received multiple 911 calls just after 5 a.m. from party-goers at the house as well as from neighbours. When police arrived at the scene, they found about 50 people at the house, including five with gunshot wounds. Two other victims went to local hospitals on their own.
Police confirmed late Thursday that one of the victims who had suffered life-threatening injuries had died, making him Calgary's first homicide of 2015. The police force's homicide squad has taken over the investigation.
CTV Calgary identified the victim as Abdullahi Ahmed, who was in his mid-20s and was of Somalian heritage. Family member Leila Edwards told CTV Mr. Ahmed was shot in the forehead and that his mother was en route to Calgary from Toronto.
The multiple shooting was eerily reminiscent of a gang-related incident in Calgary on New Year's Day in 2009, when three people were killed in a Vietnamese restaurant.
"I don't think there's any nexus that January 1st is a particularly bad day," Inspector Jacques said. "It's just a series of coincidences."
In the latest incident, police are appealing to members of the city's African communities for help in what they describe as a complex and fluid investigation.
"We can't do it alone," Inspector Jacques said. "We need your help."
Earlier on Thursday, police rounded up about 15 witnesses from the party, but they were not co-operative, said Detective Steve Adair. Others fled the scene shortly before police arrived.
Kim Vollolasa, an employee at the McDonald's across the street from the house, arrived for her shift at 7 a.m. on Thursday to find police tape at the drive-thru. She said a detective asked her for video footage. But Det. Adair said the footage is of no use in the investigation because the cameras are aimed inside the restaurant and not at the street.
One neighbour who lives about two blocks from where the party took place mistook the sound of gunfire for fireworks. Other neighbours contacted by The Globe and Mail say they heard nothing.
Jeff Leitch, who lives in the 1900 block of 36th Street S.W. where the shooting took place, said he slept through it.
"I didn't know anything until police knocked on my door," he said. "They asked me if any bullets came through the house."