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Two young men dead after community hall party
EDMONTON, Canada, September 02, 2007 - Two young men originally from Somalia were killed in an early morning shooting outside the Fulton Place community hall.
Police were called to an "after-hours party" at the community hall just after 5 a.m. when several people phoned to report gunshots, said police spokesman Dean Parthenis.
Officers arrived at 60th Street and Fulton Road and found two men, both in their mid-20s and critically injured.
One had what looked like multiple gunshot wounds to his head and chest, said Supt. Rod Homeniuk of Emergency Medical Services. The man was transported to the University Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The second man had a wound to the head. He died at the scene - his body could been seen beneath a blanket behind the hall this morning.
"We don't have any suspects at this point," Parthenis said this afternoon. Police were still trying to identify the victims as well.
A woman who left the party less than an hour before shots were fired said these types of parties have been happening about once a week throughout the summer, scheduled at various community halls.
Sunday morning's party was hosted by members of the city's Caribbean and African communities, with at least 100 people dancing to a reggae DJ and people eating homemade curried goat and jerk chicken.
The party was winding down and the atmosphere fine when she left. Then after she got home, she phoned one of her friends and was told that someone had been shot outside the hall.
"There was no way to tell this was going to happen," said the woman, who asked not to be identified. "It had been a wonderful evening."
The woman said there was very little drinking, as the liquor ran out early in the evening. However, there were two small groups of young men who had had problems with each other at previous hall parties, resulting in at least one fight, she said.
By Sunday morning, police taped off a large swath of field surrounding the community hall, including a children's baseball diamond, soccer field, playground and wading pool.
Graffiti on an electrical box gave a grim warning: "F*** Flash, Walking Dead!!!" A smashed beer bottle and two New York Yankees caps lay in the middle of the road.
Kathy Hudson, who lives across the street from the community hall, said she woke up at 4 a.m. to the sounds of partying and when she looked outside the street was full of cars.
She woke up again just after 5 a.m. to the sound of about four loud bangs. She heard shouting, and when she looked out the window she saw a street full of people running and heard cars driving away.
"I just spent the next hour peering out the window," she said.
"They were right out in front here with their cars, and lots of shouting," added her husband Barry, now standing on the sidewalk in the sunshine with his coffee. "They all dispersed fairly quickly. The cops were here in five minutes."
The two men are Edmonton's 21st and 22nd homicide victims of 2007.
Parthenis said police interviewed several witnesses who were at the party. They are still looking for more people from the party, as well as neighbourhood residents who may have witnessed the incident.
He said an autopsy to confirm the cause of death is scheduled for Tuesday.
Mike Cousens, president of the Fulton Place Community League, said he is still trying to determine who rented the hall Saturday night.
"The hall is supposed to close down like any establishment - shut down at 1 and doors closed by 2," he said. "This is the first time we've ever had a party that spilled into the evening like this."
Cousens said the hall often hosts weddings, and that every renter is screened and interviewed. "We have a very peaceful community and this is upsetting for everyone," he said.
"This isn't a reflection on our community hall. This is a reflection on our city."
With files from Mike Sadava
Source: Edmonton Journal