Niagara Regional Police Service is investigating a shooting that took place early Sunday morning in the area of the Karma nightclub on St. Paul St. in St. Catharines.
Niagara police media relations specialist Stephanie Sabourin confirmed that officers were called to the area at roughly 2:30 a.m. Sunday for reports of shots fired.
Four males and two females are being treated in hospital for gunshot wounds, two of whom have been taken to an out-of-town hospital with serious injuries, one by air ambulance.
Bre Elrick, front of house manager at the Ludology Boardgame Cafe, said she was just sitting down for her end-of-shift cup of tea when she heard a round of seven to 10 gunshots. She didn’t initially recognize them to be gunshots as she said it sounded more like firecrackers.
“Immediately I stood up and I went outside and there was like 40 people running … It was truly terrifying. I can’t get their faces out of my head.”
She then phoned 911 and stayed on the phone until paramedics arrived. She and her bosses remained inside the cafe, located just across the street from Karma, as police began filling St. Paul St.
Elrick said she couldn’t recall seeing anybody with a gun, all she could see was people running and ducking.
“It was honestly terrifying.”
St. Paul St. remained closed between Queen and William Sts. on Sunday morning. During a media scrum Sunday morning, Sabourin said road closures are expected to remain in place for much of the day as officers from the forensics unit and detectives continue to investigate.
Police are appealing to the public, asking any witnesses to come forward and for anyone with cellphone footage from the incident to share it with detectives. At this time, police have not released a suspect description.
“It was a very chaotic scene, we had a number of people in the downtown and there’s a lot of working parts at this point. It’s a matter of putting the puzzle together and understanding who was involved,” said Sabourin. “Detectives are looking through footage to ensure that we have an accurate suspect description that we can release.”
With Grape and Wine Festival and Culture Days events continuing in the downtown area Sunday, Sabourin said police will maintain a presence in the downtown area with an increased vigilance.
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St. Catharines’ mayor Walter Sendzik posted a statement on Twitter Sunday morning.
“While many of us are waking this morning from an amazing Grape and Wine weekend, a shocking tragedy has shaken our city. Early this morning there was a shooting downtown and 6 people were seriously injured. Police are looking for suspects and any tips from the public,” he wrote. “On behalf of the City is (sic) St. Catharines I share our thoughts and prayers with the people injured. Like you, I am deeply troubled by this gun violence. I will be in touch with the Chief of Police and all authorities to make sure our city is safe.”