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

Man rescued from sinking boat off the coast of Sidney

Mayday call came into Coast Guard saying vessel had taken on water, BC Ferries dispatched to scene

WATCH: Original rendition of A Christmas Carol takes over Dave Dunnet Community Theatre

Complete with a brass ensemble and Celtic band, only two shows will be open to the public

Victoria mother concerned by city’s potential straw ban

Carmell Nesbitt’s son has cerebral palsy and can only drink with plastic straws

Sailors reunited with family for Christmas in Victoria

HMCS Nanaimo and HMCS Edmonton return following a two-month deployment

Victoria breakfast icon is shutting its doors

Floyd’s Diner is closing its Quadra and Yates streets location

Victoria Canadian Tire replaces toys stolen from Salvation Army

Children won’t have to go without toys this Christmas

Man rescued from sinking boat off the coast of Vancouver Island

Mayday call came into Coast Guard saying vessel had taken on water, BC Ferries dispatched to scene

Publication ban on name of girl killed in Abbotsford school lifted

Reimer’s family had supported an application by Black Press to lift ban

B.C. securities regulator probes ‘most expansive’ alleged trading scheme in its history

Liht Cannabis Corp states it’s doing internal investigation, welcomes BC Securities Commission probe

Air passenger rights: 6 things about what the Liberals are offering

For 3- to 6-hour delays, compensation is $400. Between 6 and 9 hours, $700. Over 9 hours is $1,000

Descoteau’s mother, girlfriend reflect on tribulations of murder trial in Island city

Friends a strong support system in getting through testimony details

RCMP, civilian vehicles rammed in North Okanagan incident

Police attempt to stop truck near Enderby, thought to be tied to alleged Salmon Arm armed robbery

New biker gang with ties to Hells Angels crops up in Lower Mainland

The Street Reapers were formed late last year and have been seen in Fort Langley.

10-lane George Massey bridge too big, B.C. study says

Consultants say replacement tunnel cost similar to new bridge

Most Read