When residents of a southeast Barrie neighbourhood heard a series of blasts early Friday evening, for the most part they believed it was fireworks.
They later learned there had been a fatal shooting outside a home on River Ridge Road near Golden Meadow Drive, leaving a teenager dead.
Until Friday night, the biggest complaint in the area has been speeding and vehicle break-ins.
Last night's shooting is the city’s first homicide in two years.
“It was like a batch of fireworks,” said a man named Ryan, who lives around the corner from the area that has cordoned off by police. “This is the first time something like this has happened in the neighbourhood.”
City police confirmed to BarrieToday on Friday night that a 17-year-old boy is dead, but have revealed no other information about the case. Police also said last night that no arrests had been made.
Police have said they responded to the scene of an "apparent homicide" shortly after 6 p.m.
The victim was located and pronounced dead at the scene from a gunshot wound, Barrie police communications co-ordinator Peter Leon said in a YouTube video posted Saturday afternoon.
Barrie police say they do not believe there's a threat to public safety and "strongly believe" this is an isolated incident.
The investigation is ongoing.
"Detectives have been working overnight and they’ll continue to do so today," Barrie police spokesperson Jennett Mays said Saturday morning. “When the investigation permits, we’ll provide an update.”
One woman in the area said her daughter and her friends all attend Innisdale Secondary School with the victim and have all known each other since elementary school.
“She is very traumatized and she’s very scared,” the woman told BarrieToday.
Saturday morning, Barrie police officers were conducting a grid search of nearby Golden Meadow Park with an identification officer collecting debris or possible evidence.
A mobile police command centre was also stationed in the park’s parking lot while access to River Ridge Road, where the shooting is believed to have occurred. River Ridge Road remained blocked off Saturday.
Grant Sauve, who has lived next to the park for close to two decades and across from River Ridge Road, said he heard seven bangs Friday night and figured it was fireworks in the park, which he said is typically quiet.
“We never thought anything else of it and all of a sudden we heard sirens,” quickly followed by a heavy police presence, he said.
The neighbours were all told to stay in their homes, Sauve said.
“It’s a quiet neighbourhood, people are friendly. It’s a tight-knit community and it’s unusual that something of this nature would take place here,” said Steve Tedford, who was walking his dog along Golden Meadow Road on Saturday.
Tedford said he pulled into his driveway across Hurst Drive from where the shooting took place at 6:02 p.m. and heard nothing, so he believes it must have occurred prior to that.
“I hope this isn’t a sign of things to come. I don’t think it is, I’m sure it’s a one off, but when something like this happens in the community it’s unnerving and it’s a scary situation for all who live around here,” he said.
“I just hope that this doesn’t happen anymore and it goes back to being a quiet community as it’s always been," Tedford added.
Another Golden Meadow neighbour said he heard the shots as well. His household can’t agree on the exact number, but they’ve pinned it down to somewhere between eight and 12.
Violent crime is a foreign concept to the area, he added, but there have been incidents of concern. He points to the July 15 tornado, which devastated a nearby community, as well as a vehicle crashing into a fence line on Hurst Drive last spring.
“It’s been a weird year,” he said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Barrie police at 705-725-7025 and ask to speak to the homicide unit.
Earlier this year, Barrie was ranked as having the lowest violent crime rate in the country in 2020 and having the third lowest overall crime rate.