Victoria nightclub patron feels a little more at risk downtown

But VicPD spokesman offers up numbers to the contrary

When Nolan Belfe heard someone say “gunshots,” he thought it was all part of the show.

Belfe, 19, and friend Cole Denton, 20, were crammed against the front of the stage to watch rap duo Heavy Metal Kings perform an encore at Club 9one9 on Monday night.

Outside, a barrage of bullets was unleashed from a passing vehicle at 1 a.m., sending the club into a controlled panic.

A staff member approached one of the performers and whispered in his ear.

“(The performers) said, ‘Someone got shot. We can’t do the encore,'” Belfe said.

Staff ordered everyone out the back door and onto Courtney Street, forcing many patrons to leave behind their belongings at the coat check.

“Nobody really knew what was happening at first,” said Denton, whose father works for News publisher Black Press. “It’s definitely shocking to see it happen in Victoria.”

Belfe said he found it “mind-boggling” that a drive-by shooting would occur in the Capital Region in what appears to be a senseless manner.

“I feel like it’s getting a bit riskier downtown, not a safe city anymore,” he said.

Not true, said VicPD Const. Mike Russell.

“Since 2008, there’s been a massive decrease in the amount of violent crime downtown,” Russell said.

While 2012 numbers have yet to be released, Russell said police have seen success with the BarWatch program, where patron IDs are scanned and checked against a database of known gang members and people with violent crime convictions.

A task force on downtown safety in 2009 also led to an additional four officers being stationed in the downtown core on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights each week, Russell said.

Dennis Grant Fletcher, 23, is wanted on a warrant for attempted murder in the drive-by shooting.

Fletcher is five-foot-seven, 130 pounds, with brown hair and a small scar on his chin. Police warn the public not to approach him, but to call 911 if he is seen.

dpalmer@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Saanich councillor slams McKenzie Interchange Project

Coun. Judy Brownoff said the project will only create more greenhouses gases and traffic

Oak Bay father charged with double murder takes the stand

Andrew Berry pleaded not guilty to the December 2017 deaths of his two daughters

Victoria contractors file civil claims for work on Sooke Tim Hortons, Petro Canada

Contractors file civil suits against Petromaxx, T’Sou-ke First Nation

PHOTOS: Water gun-toting kids of all ages storm Fort Rodd Hill

Aug. 17 event inspires soggy smiles all around

VIDEO: Title of 25th Bond movie is ‘No Time to Die’

The film is set to be released in April 2020

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of Aug. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Should there be a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers?

We’ve all heard them, and most likely cursed them under our breath.… Continue reading

‘Unsubstantiated’ bomb threat against CP Rail in Revelstoke

On Aug. 18, a bomb threat was made against CP Rail in Revelstoke

Coroner’s inquest into fatal police shooting in Port Hardy begins in Campbell River

James Reginald Butters, 24, killed in 2015 after RCMP responded to call of male uttering threats

New ‘Matrix’ film set with Keanu Reeves and Lana Wachowski

Fourth installment to feature Reeves as Neo and Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity

Catholic church buys $7.5M equestrian facility in B.C., plans ‘agri-retreat’ centre

Church hopes to grow crops, host students and others on Bradner property

New regulations require training for B.C. addiction recovery homes

Inspections, standards replace ‘wild west,’ Judy Darcy says

Trans Mountain gives contractors 30 days to get workers, supplies ready for pipeline

Crown corporation believes the expansion project could be in service by mid-2022

Most Read