Police investigate BB pellet shots

Photo by Jessica Dik

Photo by Jessica Dik

Numerous air pistol attacks on pedestrians have been reported over the last week in the Hickory-King-Regina area near Wilfrid Laurier University.

“Right now I think we’re up to five reported occurrences,” said staff sergeant Michael Haffner of the Waterloo Regional Police Service. “People have either heard discharge of an air pistol, or maybe they believe that there was pellets or BB’s hitting the ground around them.”

The first reported incident occurred at the beginning of last week. Three individuals were walking near King and Columbia when a young woman was struck in the collarbone.

Less than 24 hours later, another young woman walking in the same area was struck near her eye.

The third reported incident was from a young man who was not injured, but reported seeing a light on the ground next to him, followed by the sound of BB pellets being shot near him.

“This was the first time, that male that identified that there was a green laser flipping on and off around him, and then the sound as if something was hitting the ground,” Haffner explained.

The fourth reported incident involved two pedestrians near Regina and Hickory on the evening of September 13 hearing the sound of BB pellets hitting the ground near them.

Following these reports, another individual has come forward claiming to have been hit in the arm on the evening of September 6.

The most recent reported incident was along King St. between Hickory and Columbia on September 15.

The Waterloo Regional Police department has been investigating the reports with the assistance of Laurier’s Special Constable Services.

Special Constables were unable to speak about the incidents at this time.

“I think what concerns us most as an organization and as a community would be the prevalence of a firearm,” said Haffner.

“The air-pistols that are being used now are very similar to a real gun, so there’s always that concern for the individuals that are using them and the individuals that may be observing the firearm. They don’t know whether it’s real or a BB or what.”

These attacks come only a few weeks after a similar incident occurred involving an air pistol in Waterloo.

“There was, I want to say a young man, who was struck at the corner of Union and Moore Street, by a BB being shot out of a vehicle,” said Haffner. “Potentially unrelated, they’re not in the same area, but there have been instances like this in the past.”

For the time being, Special Constables are keeping students informed of new incidents through their new SAFEHawk app as well as email alerts while the investigation is underway.

Both agencies are urging students to avoid walking in the targeted areas if possible and to exercise caution.

“Obviously we don’t want people looking up and be struck again,” said Haffner.

“If you do hear something suspicious, they can call 911 or notify the university police agencies and we can have someone respond right away and hopefully catch the people who are responsible.”

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