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Neighbours ducked for cover when shots rang out Friday night: witness

'There were a few of us leaving to get into our car and all of sudden the shooting started,' says River Ridge Road resident in south-end Barrie; Boy, 17, killed and three teens charged with murder

Neighbours are still in shock following Friday evening’s fatal shooting on River Ridge Road in Barrie’s south end that left a 17-year-old boy dead and three teens charged with first-degree murder. 

Two of the 17-year-old suspects in the city's first homicide in two years appeared in court separately on Monday via remote link and were adjourned to Thursday.

The two youths, along with an 18-year-old man, were charged over the weekend following the deadly shooting outside a home on River Ridge Road in southeast Barrie around 6 p.m., Friday.

The 18-year-old man who is also charged with first-degree murder was earlier remanded until Dec. 8.

All three suspects remain in custody.

The names of the two 17-year-old suspects are protected under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. 

Defence lawyer Reid Rusonik, who appeared in court on behalf of one of the youths today, would not comment on the case when contacted by BarrieToday. He asked the court to impose a ban on the publication of information arising out of a future bail hearing.

Barrie police communications co-ordinator Peter Leon told BarrieToday on Monday that releasing the name of the 18-year-old suspect “has the potential to identify the young persons charged.”

Police are also not confirming the identity of the teen who was killed. 

“We will not be identifying the deceased out of the fact that we don’t want to have any additional victimization toward the family,” Leon said.

At the scene on Monday, BarrieToday spoke to neighbours on the side street where the shooting took place, which is located off Golden Meadow Road near Hurst Drive.

A neighbour, who asked not to be named, said they witnessed the shooting as they were heading out for the night. They said they had to "duck for cover" when the shots rang out.

“There were a few of us leaving to get into our car and all of sudden the shooting started,” said the neighbour. “We all ran back toward our house. (One of us) tripped on the stairs and another had to duck by the garage and the car.

"It all happened so fast and sounded like eight or nine shots," the neighbour added. 

They also said they knew the boy who was killed and that he’d “lived there for many years.” 

“It's really sad. No one deserves this and it's heartbreaking for the parents," the neighbour added. 

Keith Reeves, who lives on the street where the shooting occurred, said he left to go out about four minutes before the shooting occurred and says he saw nothing out of the ordinary in the moments before it happened.

“It just seemed like normal behaviour. Just a couple of kids doing their thing on a Friday night,” said Reeves. 

Reeves also said there had never been any problems at the house previously.

“Yeah, they’d be out there hanging out, maybe loud sometimes, but nothing bad," he said. 

Reeves said he was “very, very surprised” by the fatal shooting in his neighbourhood.

“It's a quiet neighbourhood and it's just something that nobody was expecting, that's for sure. And we hope it doesn't happen again,” he said. “It's very sad because all their lives are ruined, right?”

City police say all three suspects were arrested in Barrie without incident, but Leon said he could not provide more detail, such as where the arrests took place, because the investigation was ongoing.

“The arrests were local, I can say that," he said Monday. "The appropriate follow-ups were made, which ultimately led us to locating the individuals that we were looking for.

“We are very proud of the work done this weekend by officers and investigators," Leon added. "They worked literally around the clock and it is said that the first 48 hours are crucial, and within 46 we had a press release going out that we had apprehended three individuals.”