EDMONTON - One man died and another was in hospital after gunfire erupted in downtown Edmonton on Family Day.
Police say they were called to the area around the Twilight Afterhours club and the Chez Pierre strip club just after 8 a.m. Monday morning as people who were working on the provincial holiday made their way to their offices.
Police found one man dead inside a sport utility vehicle and another man injured on the sidewalk. Both men are believed to be in their 20s.
The man who survived the shooting incident was taken to hospital with serious injuries, though police said they likely weren't life-threatening.
Police said at least one of the men was inside the club just prior to the shooting.
Some patrons were still inside the Twilight club during the shooting and were being questioned by police.
"It's an after-hours club that is in this area and we are speaking to the people within the club," said Edmonton police Insp. Denis Jubinville.
The street in front was blocked for much of the day while homicide investigators did their work.
"I've been downtown for the last 10 years going to these after-hours clubs and I've seen it before," Tyler Badger told CTV. He was partying at the hot spot before the shootings. "It's not the first time, it's not the last," he said.
A previous shooting at a nightclub there sent a bullet into the wall of the Presbyterian church across the street. This latest incident is frustrating for spokesman, Bill Fleming, who said there's a lot of crime in the downtown neighbourhood.
"There's drug dealing in this area, shootings in this area," he said.
It wasn't exactly a romantic conclusion to their Valentine's Day trip to Edmonton for Kevin Cafferky and Rebecka Saunders.
"We heard five or six shots go off and there's somebody laying on the ground, and its' Family Day," said Cafferky.
"It's awful. It's happening everywhere and it's really unfortunate," Saunders said.
That area of downtown Edmonton has been the scene of violence in the past.
The worst incident happened in 2006 when three people were shot and killed inside the former Red Light Lounge. Twilight now operates in the basement of that building.
Dwayne Nelson was convicted of second-degree murder in the shooting that left three others, including a bouncer, injured. His trial heard how the gunfire broke out after a fight over a spilled drink.
In 2007, Thanh Van Phan, 19, was stabbed to death outside Twilight.
Last September, shots were fired inside that club but no one was injured. At the time, the club's owner said a group of men rushed past the metal detectors and one of them started firing.
Still, the city councillor for the area said he felt that the level of violence had been declining prior to Monday's shooting.
"It felt like we had a spate of stuff for a while, then it felt like it slowed down," said Ben Henderson. "Obviously, this kind of thing is upsetting when it happens."
Henderson said the shootings may be part of a pattern in which disputes that used to be settled with fist fights now end in gunfire.
"When you have more lethal weapons involved, you have more lethal results."