News

Family shaken as gunshot rips through apartment

Joey Fitchett counts himself lucky to be alive after a shotgun blast ripped through the kitchen wall of his apartment, narrowly missing him, his daughter and fiancée Tuesday. One person is facing charges related to the incident.  - CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin
Joey Fitchett counts himself lucky to be alive after a shotgun blast ripped through the kitchen wall of his apartment, narrowly missing him, his daughter and fiancée Tuesday. One person is facing charges related to the incident.
— image credit: CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin

A Nanaimo couple and their child had a near miss with injury or death when a gun was fired through the wall of their kitchen.

The incident happened shortly before 11:30 a.m. Tuesday as Joey Fitchett, 25, put down his one-year-old daughter to get a drink in the kitchen of his second-storey apartment at 622 Quilchena Cres. in Nanaimo’s Country Club neighbourhood.

“It sounded like a balloon pop,” Fitchett said.

The next thing he knew the air around him was filled with drywall dust, and there was a hole in the wall just above his head. What looked like pellets were embedded in the wall on the other side of the kitchen. The blast appeared to have been made by a shotgun and narrowly missed Fitchett, his fiancée and daughter.

“I’m lucky I put my kid down otherwise it would have hit her,” Fitchett said.

Aside from ringing in Fitchett’s ear, no one was injured. Fitchett also has a five-year-old daughter who was not home at the time.

The shot came from a second-floor adjoining apartment.

Fitchett said his fiancée called the police and that the neighbour who allegedly fired the shot came over and asked if they were all right, but by the time police arrived the neighbour and another suspect had fled. A police search of the apartment failed to turn up any firearms and police dog services were also unable to track the suspects.

Police remained on scene through the afternoon while a warrant was obtained to do a more detailed search of the suspect’s apartment and a forensic investigation of the crime scene.

Fitchett said this is the second incident involving a firearm that has occurred in the building, but that he does not know anything about his next-door neighbour other than he moved in about two months ago.

“I’ve been here for two years,” Fitchett said. “Time to get out.”

Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, said police retrieved the shotgun they believe was used in the incident from a pond in Lantzville and arrested two men, but only one is facing charges.

A 23-year-old male, who resides at the apartment on Quilchena, is facing a recommended charge of careless handling of a firearm. His first court appearance is set for March 11.

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