Calgary police don't know if New Year's shooting victim was the intended target

Police tape marks the scene of a multiple shooting in Calgary, Thursday, Jan. 1, 2015.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

CALGARY - Calgary police say they still don't know what prompted the gunfire at a New Year's house party that killed one man and injured six other people, and say they don't have any suspects.

Police say Abdullahi Ahmed, who was 26 and lived in Calgary, died in hospital on New Year's Day after shots were fired early Thursday morning.

Police say they believe the home west of downtown Calgary was not randomly targeted, but they don't know if a specific person at the party was an intended victim.

Sgt. Ryan Ayliffe told a news conference that investigators have been having difficulty with the case.

"We have a party with about 50 or 60 people and we've yet to speak to even half the people involved there, and we don't have a clear picture of what went on," Ayliffe said.

"We have witnesses. The ones that we have spoken to, they're not very co-operative."

Police say the people who were hit by bullets included a person who was driving past the residence.

Investigators say another fatal shooting early Friday morning in Calgary is probably not related to the gunfire at the party, although they say they are still investigating.

Officers responding to a report of gunshots arrived to find a man dead in an alley.

The name of the man in that case has not been released.

Police on New Year's Day said they received multiple 911 calls just after 5 a.m. reporting gunshots were fired. By the time officers arrived, the suspect or suspects had already left the scene.

The six others who were injured at the shooting are all expected to recover, police said.

Ayliffe said some of the witnesses have identified themselves as being from the Somali community, so police have reached out to local leaders with that community to encourage anyone with information to come forward.

"If you were at the party, we know you're probably scared. Please know we're here to help. We can provide support for victims," Ayliffe said.

"If you don't feel comfortable coming forward to police, there are a number of anonymous ways that information can be passed on to our investigators."

Ayliffe said the home where the shooting occurred was rented about a month ago, and that police hadn't been called to the location before.

He said it's too early to speculate whether the shooting was gang-related.

Ayliffe said investigators have spoken to some of the people who were injured by the gunfire but that it has been difficult to obtain useful information.

"If you can imagine when something like that starts, there's confusion, people are leaving. The best we can piece together is some of the injured people were trying to leave the residence when they were shot."

"So they have no idea why they were shot or what instigated the event itself."

The street is a mixture of older homes and newer developments.

Neighbours have described hearing a series of pops, which some mistook for tires popping or fireworks.

Earlier, police called the shooting a "one-off" and suggested there was no danger to Calgary.

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