No one in Windsor should be shocked by the shooting incident last weekend that left five people with firearm injuries — says a community activist who annually organizes a vigil for local victims of violence.
“This has been happening in our city for years, and it’s just going to keep getting worse,” said vigil founder Lisa Valente on Wednesday.
In conversations with local news outlets and posts on social media, Valente has been expressing her frustration with public response to the April 9 incident at Super Bowl Lanes in the Forest Glade area.
“This is not a Forest Glade problem,” Valente insisted.
“This is not a ‘street’ issue… It’s not gangs out of Toronto. These are our kids. We know them all, and they all know each other.”
On Tuesday, Windsor police announced they have made five arrests related to the case. Three males — one of them 21 years old, one of them 19 years old, and one of them under 18 — now face attempted murder charges.
When Valente started the event, the list had about 10 names.
At last year’s vigil, the list had grown to 79 names.
While the vigil has been endorsed by several local leaders, Valente noted that Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens has never attended or responded to her requests for a statement.
“It always falls on deaf ears,” Valente said.
“If you want to find out what’s going on in the city from a different perspective, why not talk to the families who are there?”
However, Valente said she has not reached out to the greatest recently.
Valente admits she doesn’t have a clear solution to the issue, but she feels more needs to be done to provide guidance and positive peer groups for young males.
“I just know we need to reach those kids,” Valente said, emphasizing the development of empathy and social support systems.
“These are kids doing stupid things… There has got to be something to teach them to see that there’s a future other than the friends that they have.”
As of Wednesday afternoon, one suspect remains at large. He is considered armed and dangerous. He is described as a male between 5-foot-2 and 5-foot-5, perhaps 150 pounds in weight.
At the time of the crime, he was wearing a brown coat, a gray hooded sweater, and a blue baseball cap with a white LA Dodgers logo.
Anyone with further information about this suspect or his whereabouts is asked to call the Major Crime Unit at 519-255-6700 ext. 4830.
Anonymous tips can be made via Crime Stoppers at 519-258-8477 or catchcrooks.com.