'I thought it was balloons bursting': Event organizer reacts to fatal shooting at Edmonton community hall
A party that was supposed to be a community fun day turned deadly after gunfire killed one man and injured six others.
The shooting happened early Sunday morning at the Duggan Community Centre.
The event organizer, who will not be identified by CTV News Edmonton due to fears for their safety, said in an interview that the event for the Jamaican community should have had 100 attendees.
However, the promoter said attendance at the event swelled to more than 200 people as many uninvited guests came.
When the shots rang out, the organizer ushered people into the kitchen for safety – closing the shutters and door as they waited for police to arrive.
“I heard one explosion,” they recounted to CTV News. “I thought it was balloons bursting.
“But then after that explosion, I heard numerous other explosions and so then I realized it was not balloons, it was gunshots.”
The event organizer said they heard more than 20 gunshots, adding that they do not know who fired the shots or what led to the gunfire.
Edmonton Police Service (EPS) offered few details about the event, other than a man in his 20s had died, and six other men were injured.
Three suffered non-life threatening injuries and were released from hospital Sunday, while one was in serious condition and two had non-life threatening injuries.
The Duggan Community League president confirmed there are 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 is not the first time a community hall in our city has seen a party turn into a homicide investigation.
“It’s been a couple of years, and there’s been change over,” she said. “People are excited to rent out their halls again and get people connected.
“We’re devastated that Duggan is having to deal with this.”