A man suspected of spraying bullets at doormen outside a Victoria concert venue, hitting one of them, was believed to be holed up in an Esquimalt apartment surrounded by heavily armed police Monday night.
During an all-day standoff at Macaulay East Apartments on Esquimalt Road — an address associated with the suspect — police evacuated nearby suites and called in a negotiator, but had yet to confirm if the man was inside.
About 1 a.m. Monday, doorman Michael Mizerski, 25, was shot in the leg outside Club 9one9 on Douglas Street. He was released from Victoria General Hospital later that day.
A woman alleged to be an accomplice of the shooter was arrested early in the investigation with the help of a police tracking dog. A vehicle matching the description of the car that witnesses said was involved in the shooting was spotted by police, chased and found a short time later abandoned outside a residence at Shelbourne and Ryan streets in Saanich, along with a weapon that may have been used in the shooting, police said. The residence was found not to be linked to the incident.
U.S. East Coast rap duo Heavy Metal Kings was ending its set at the club in the Strathcona Hotel when the driver of a black compact car drove by, stopped and fired several bullets at the doormen outside.
Within moments, a crowd gathered. Police quickly responded to a flurry of 911 calls.
By 10 a.m., police had tracked the suspect to the Esquimalt apartment and the emergency-response team was deployed.
“It’s certainly concerning when you’re firing blankly into a crowd of people,” said Victoria police Const. Mike Russell. “Obviously, we have a responsibility to [the victim] to find out who did this. But also to the general public, to make sure this doesn’t happen again. Somebody who has access to firearms and somebody who is willing to shoot into a crowd, there’s no place for that.”
Grant Olson, co-owner of the Strathcona Hotel, said the suspect, who was at the show with a woman, was escorted out by security shortly before it ended because he appeared to be in a stupor. “He was upset and his girlfriend was upset. They left without major incident. … Lo and behold, a couple of minutes later, he drives by and takes aim at our guys outside,” Olson said. “He didn’t look intoxicated and he didn’t look sleepy outside. I looked at the [security camera] footage. He was very awake, but just so upset. And she was so upset.”
Olson said Club 9one9 follows security practices recommended by the BarWatch program. “We pat down everyone at our shows.” As well, the bar uses electronic equipment that scans patrons’ identification and flags people with outstanding warrants, for example. “[The suspect] may be on the police’s radar, but he wasn’t on that radar,” Olson said.
Police said they do not suspect the shooting was gang-related.
Mizerski, who is six-foot-three, is a former wide receiver for the Victoria Rebels football team and has played for the Castaway Wanderers rugby club of Oak Bay.
Originally from Toronto, he studied kinesiology at the University of Manitoba. His mother, Bernadette Mizerski, was making plans Monday to fly to Victoria to be with her son. “You never think it’s going to be your child,” said Mizerski from Toronto. “You see these things on TV and read it in the paper and you know you’ve raised a good kid — a good person who is always helping others, and to think something like this will happen.”
Police have several witnesses, all of whom are being co-operative, Russell said.
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