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Residents divided on neighbourhood safety after shooting

'This is a nice street. Some bad people moved here, but that isn’t indicative of everyone else,' says Letitia Heights resident; Man shot multiple times on catwalk Saturday night
A Barrie police command unit was parked Monday at a plaza on Leacock Drive.

The heavy police presence in a north-end Barrie neighbourhood the last three days has some residents questioning the state of the area while others are defending it.

The Saturday night shooting on Kipling Place sent a man to a Toronto trauma centre with life-threatening injuries and has police continuing their investigation.

“Oh sure, things happen all the time everywhere, but that's a new one for this area, certainly for this street,” said a resident named Harold, who lives just a few doors down from the catwalk where the shooting occurred and who only wanted to be identified by his first name.

“There have been things happen in the neighbourhood over the years," he added. "I’ve been here since the early 1980s and never had something like this happen.”

Just before 10:30 p.m., Saturday, city police say a man in his mid-40s was walking along the catwalk from Leacock Drive toward Kipling Place when he became involved in an altercation with a group of people.

On Sunday, Barrie police confirmed the victim was shot multiple times and taken to a local hospital before being transported to a Toronto-area trauma centre. Authorities have called the shooting "isolated.”

Also on Sunday, there was a heavy police presence at Sunnidale Park, located just a few minutes from where the shooting occurred. Several police vehicles, officers and a command unit were in a portion of the park. 

That same day, police descended on a Kipling Place residence. Several tactical officers and an armoured police vehicle were on scene demanding occupants of the home to come out and that they were surrounded.

BarrieToday has confirmed that both incidents — at Sunnidale Park and at the Kipling Place home — were related to Saturday's shooting.

One woman walking her dog Monday on Kipling Place told BarrieToday she saw the scene and was stunned.

“I was walking the dog, but put her back home and watched where I could,” said the woman, who didn’t want her name published. “They were telling people to come out with their hands up and basically not to try anything because the home was surrounded.

"Now look — nothing. Back to being a normal, quiet street," she added. "I don’t know what to think, though. I don’t want to live here, but it happens everywhere so where do you go?”

A woman who works in a business at the nearby plaza, located at 420 Leacock Dr., told BarrieToday she lives down the street and didn’t hear the shots, but did hear the ambulance. She said she feels the neighbourhood is getting a bad rap.

“There are pockets of this neighbourhood, which people just say Letitia Heights, that have several incidents a year, but it's not the whole area,” said the women, who also didn't want her name published. “This is a nice area to live in. Sometimes bad things happen in nicer areas, it doesn’t mean everyone is bad. There's some good people here.”

Barrie police have not said if they have made any arrests. Officials say the investigation is ongoing and fluid, and that updates would be provided as soon as possible. 

An older couple, who live close enough to the shooting scene to have heard the shots, told BarrieToday they don't view their street any different today than they did prior to Saturday's shooting.

“No, no. I don’t see my street any worse than before. We love it here,” said the man, who wanted to remain anonymous. “This is a nice street. Some bad people moved here, but that isn’t indicative of everyone else.

"I heard the shots, it wasn’t nice. But it wouldn’t stop me from going for a walk.”