Event organizer

‘I thought it was balloons popping’: Event organizer reacts to fatal shooting at Edmonton community hall

EDMONTON-

A party that was supposed to be a day of community fun turned deadly after gunfire killed one man and injured six others.

The shooting happened early Sunday morning at the Duggan Community Center.

The event organizer, who will not be identified by CTV News Edmonton due to safety concerns, said in an interview that the event for the Jamaican community should have had 100 attendees.

However, the promoter said attendance for the event had grown to over 200 people as many uninvited guests showed up.

When the shots rang out, the organizer ushered people into the kitchen for safety – closing the shutters and the door while waiting for the police to arrive.

“I heard an explosion,” they told CTV News. “I thought it was balloons popping.

“But after that explosion I heard many more explosions and then I realized it wasn’t balloons, it was gunshots.”

The event organizer said he heard more than 20 shots, adding that he did not know who fired the shots or what led to the shots.

The Edmonton Police Service (EPS) provided few details about the event, other than that a man in his 20s died and six other men were injured.

Three suffered non-life-threatening injuries and were discharged from hospital on Sunday, while one was in serious condition and two had non-life-threatening injuries.

The president of the Duggan Community League confirmed that there were two dozen security cameras inside and outside the community hall, and all footage from the event will be shared with police.

Laura Cunningham-Shpeley, executive director of the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues, said this isn’t the first time a community hall in our city has seen a party turn into a homicide investigation.

“It’s been a few years, and there have been changes,” she said. “People are excited to rent their venues again and tune in.

“We are devastated that Duggan has to deal with this.”