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

Local cadets gain acceptance to RMC

Military careers one step closer

New Star Cinema project approved

Cameo development gets unanimous council thumbs up

Stelly’s sidewalk gets green light

Federal funding brings project to fruition

Witnesses sought for alleged drunk driver crash in Sidney

Crash happened June 16 on East Saanich Rd. and Canora Dr.

Fake crash warns students about real consequences

Saanich Peninsula emergency crews warn against distracted driving

Victoria Ska and Reggae Fest fills harbour with music

Music festival wraps with free party Sunday at Ship Point

5 fun things to do this weekend in Greater Victoria

Victoria Ska and Reggae Fest, Ride Don’t Hide, Cordova Bay Day and more

Man brandishes axe during robbery

Mounties were able to locate the suspect within two hours of the incident

‘Creep off’ reporting system aims to track street harassment in Metro Vancouver

Text-based hotline launches to collect public reports on where and when harassment occurs

Happy ending for orphaned bear cubs

Two orphaned bear cubs were captured in Castlegar and sent for rehabilitation.

10 feet from home: B.C. grassfire offers stark reminder how quickly blazes burn

Kamloops woman among first people in B.C. to be told to evacuate home this wildfire season

B.C. man (pick up truck, Lucky Beer poster, and all) revels in return to Esquimalt

Rear-Admiral Bob Auchterlonie assumed command of the Maritime Forces Pacific

Mounties raid “extensive” Vancouver Island pot grow operation

Execution of 3 search warrants has yielded 3 arrests and the seizure of 2,000 marijuana plants

Platform chosen for online B.C. cannabis sales

Ottawa-based company to create websites for when marijuana becomes legal in Canada on Oct. 17

Most Read