Mother of Calgary man who was shot says he was an innocent victim trying to help someone

The mother of a Calgary shooting victim is speaking out in the hopes of drawing more attention to gun violence in the city.

Last weekend, one man was killed in Calgary and another was injured. Both were victims of gun violence.

Read more: Calgary police release victim’s identity, suspect photos in fatal downtown shooting

John Smith Jr. was fatally shot outside Junction Underground, a nightclub located at 628 8 Ave. S.W., on Oct. 10.

Another man — who Global News has agreed not to name for family safety concerns — was shot outside a liquor store on Falconridge Drive on Oct. 9 at around 2 a.m.

He was shot in the leg and taken to hospital in serious condition.

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“My son is my everything. He’s my supporter, and he’s my caregiver. After I lost my spouse, he’s been with me 24-7. For me to hear that he was shot broke my heart,” said Albertine, the victim’s mother.

The victim’s mother said her son told her that he was trying to help a woman who was in distress outside the liquor store.

“When my son was coming out of the store, he had heard there was a girl yelling out of the car and crying. He just asked a fellow to let the girl go, and he told my son. ‘It’s none of your business,’” Albertine said.

Albertine said her son, who is now recovering at home, told her that a man approached him with a gun.

“As my son was arguing, the guy went back to the vehicle. My son didn’t know it was a gun, and by the time he looked towards the vehicle, the guy had shot him in the leg,” Albertine said.

Read more: Calgary police report shows 2020 spike in gun violence

Police said so far in 2021, there have been 71 shootings in Calgary. That is down 19 per cent from last year, but gun seizures continue to be a concern, with 1,236 guns seized so far in 2021.

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“Of significant concern is most of our gun crime has been perpetrated by somebody with a handgun. Where they come from is part of our investigation all the time,” said Calgary Police Service Supt. Cliff O’Brien.

“They are coming from all over the place. Sometimes, it’s from break and enters. Sometimes, it’s from straw buyers, people who can legally purchase guns but purchase them and then sell them illegally. Sometimes, we are seeing them smuggled.”

Read more: Calgary police homicide unit investigating deadly downtown shooting

He said police are doing all they can to investigate and lay charges, but they need resources in the courtroom and help from the community.

“We certainly are doing our best, but to me, this isn’t just a policing issue This is a community issue. We need help from loved ones and from family and friends,” O’Brien said.

“When you see somebody walking out of a house with an illegal gun or you see them in a car with an illegal gun or even when you see them walking with a replica gun in their pocket, there are only two things that are going to happen, the way I see it: they’re either going to go and traumatize somebody by victimizing somebody or they themselves may be the victim of a shooting.”

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So far this year, police have laid 835 charges against 127 individuals for incidents of violence involving firearms.

– With files from Jayme Doll

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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