Multiple recent gun incidents trigger warning from Barrie police

‘A firearm in the wrong hands is deadly,’ says Barrie police official, who says there’s no need to panic, but said citizens should be vigilant

Another gun seizure in the community may make people nervous, but the Barrie Police Service say while it is important to be aware, there isn’t a need to panic.

Wednesday’s retrieval of a stolen vehicle at a residence on Bayfield Street, which led to police locating a sawed-off shotgun and prompted the arrest of a 29-year-old male, is not the first gun-related incident this year in the city.

There have been upwards of 10 gun incidents in and around the city since last July with one causing the death of a 17 year old and another being a double shooting that left two in hospital.  

Peter Leon, the communications co-ordinator for Barrie police, said firearms are becoming more common as a result of police-related investigations and says that trend is not specific to Barrie.

“It’s not just Barrie. I think we’re seeing this change right across the province and the country, for that matter,” said Leon. “It just shows the preparedness of some of these individuals who participate in a criminal lifestyle.”

Leon said the individuals are using means to protect themselves that are not usually seen in our community, and that creates a heightened level of awareness for both officers and local residents.

“As a police service, we have a duty and a responsibility to make the public aware of these things when they do happen so they know what is happening in their backyards,” said Leon.

“A firearm in the wrong hands is deadly. In many cases, a lot of people in possession of firearms are not properly trained to use them the way police officers are trained to do so to carry out their duties,” Leon noted.

The OPP are currently investigating a high speed drive by shooting that occurred on Highway 400 between Mapleview Drive and Innisfil Beach Road this past Sunday.

There have been no arrests in that case but one driver in a vehicle not related to the incident had his car struck by a wayward bullet.

While these incidents have not been deemed a threat to the public’s safety, meaning the incidents were not random, Leon said that doesn’t mean there was no danger to the officers arriving on scene.

In a Feb. 19 call to a Wellington Street East home that led to an arrest and confiscation of a firearm, it was alleged that the man being detained struggled with police and attempted to reach into his pouch, in which a weapon was later found.

That call was initially a suspicious person attending the wrong address.

“There are no routine calls for officers,” said Leon. “Every call, every traffic stop, has the potential to have an element of risk associated with it. That risk can impact community members as well, at any time.”

Leon doesn’t want people to walk around in a sense of constant fear, but said it was important to be transparent about weapons being seized so as to show what is occurring in the community. 

“We will continue to let the public know as is their right and at the same time, work hard to get these firearms off the streets,” said Leon.

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