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Victims in fatal wedding shooting weren’t intended targets, police say

Ottawa police say they don’t believe the two men killed in Saturday’s wedding reception shooting were the targets of the roughly 50 rounds of handgun ammunition fired at a convention centre.

Two Toronto men, 26-year-old Said Mohamed Ali and 29-year-old Abdishakur Abdi-Dahir, were killed and six others were injured by bullets on Sept. 2 at the Infinity Convention Centre near the Ottawa International Airport.

Deputy Ottawa police Chief Patricia Ferguson said at a Wednesday afternoon news conference there were two “well-attended” weddings happening at the venue at the time, and the shooter or shooters fled in the chaos after bullets flew.

“[The shooting] was focused on individuals believed to be attending one of the weddings,” she said.

“We do not believe, however, that any of the victims of this brazen and careless attack were the intended targets.”

Ferguson told reporters that Ali had just arrived in Canada four months ago from an unspecified country, while Abdi-Dahir was working as an engineer.

Two police officers look at the front of a parked car on a summer day.
Ottawa police officers examine the front end of a sedan on Sept. 3, 2023 as they collect evidence after a shooting that left two people dead. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

Still no arrests

One of the six injured people remains in hospital, Ferguson said. Some of the people who were shot and released from hospital were visiting from Ohio, she added.

No arrests or suspects have been announced. 

Ottawa police Chief Eric Stubbs said he’s asked people at the wedding to talk to police and — along with residents and businesses nearby — to share any video that may be useful.

Stubbs said Tuesday police believe it was a targeted shooting and there is no indication it was hate-motivated.

Ottawa police Supt. Jamie Dunlop declined to share more about what they knew about any motivation or weapons that were involved.

Investigators have worked with both Toronto and provincial police to identify the victims, Dunlop said. But given the two dead men weren’t the intended targets, he said the investigation for now is focused on what happened in Ottawa.

“It would be a mistake to think this is a Toronto problem,” he said. “Ottawa has, unfortunately, our own problem when it comes to illegal hand guns, in terms of shootings [and] gangs.”

When asked if it was a mass shooting, Dunlop said there was no evidence the shooter wanted to hurt eight people.

An Ottawa Police officer collects evidence after a Saturday night shooting at the Infinity Convention Centre that left two dead, in Ottawa, on Sunday, Sept. 3, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Ottawa Police officers collect evidence after a Saturday night shooting at the Infinity Convention Centre that left two dead, in Ottawa, on Sunday, Sept. 3, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang (The Canadian Press)

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