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Man shot in parking lot of Earls restaurant in southeast Calgary late Saturday afternoon

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Calgary police are investigating a targeted shooting outside a busy restaurant in the southeast part of the city on Saturday.

Officers were called to a parking lot near the Earls Kitchen and Bar on 130 Avenue and 51 Street S.E. around 4:30 p.m.

A 23-year-old man in a vehicle was shot. His injuries were non-life threatening.

A witness picking up food from the Earls said he heard multiple gunshots coming from what he described as a station wagon.

"The second I walked out the door, there was three gunshots that went off five feet to my left. That's when I realized it was a shooting," the witness, who didn't want to be named for safety concerns, said.

After hearing the first shots, the witness ducked behind another car in the parking lot. 

"As I did that, I heard four more shots go off," he said. "I was just trying to get as much information for the cops as possible."

The witness said he heard the shooter say multiple times that the gun was jammed before the victim put his car into drive and hit the shooter's vehicle.

Both the vehicles then left the parking lot.

Police say the victim drove to a Chevron gas station several blocks north of the Earls to get help.

His vehicle could be seen there Saturday night with significant damage to the windshield.

Some people who were inside Earls at the time told CTV News off-camera that they were told to duck and move to the middle of the restaurant when the shots rang out.

Many left their cars overnight as police had the area blocked off for several hours to investigate.

On Sunday, Earls had a note on its door, saying it would open five hours later than usual, at 4 p.m. Several people could be seen walking up to the front door, then turning away.

Organized crime investigators say the shooting was targeted and there is no risk to the public.

“It doesn’t really matter if it’s targeted or not, the risk to public safety is still there,” said Doug King, a justice studies professor at Mount Royal University.

“This seems to be a continuation of what I had thought had been on the downslope, of what appeared to be organized crime activity, gangs basically targeting one another.”

Saturday’s confrontation follows two other very public shootings in busy shopping centres in recent months that were also connected to organized crime.

Just before 2 p.m. on Nov. 13, 23-year-old Rami Hajj Ali was shot to death in the parking lot of the Trans Canada Centre.

On Aug. 12 around 2:15 p.m., a man was gunned down in the Market Mall parking lot. He was later identified as 23-year-old Danny Truong.

“When are charges going to start flowing from what we’ve seen over the last four months or so? So, that’s a hard question for the Calgary Police Service to answer, but I think it’s a question that they need to answer,” King said.

“Until we start to see that there are some consequences for the actions of people trying to kill each other in parking lots on busy afternoons and busy evenings, until we see some kind of consequence for that, we’re all going to just get numb to it.”

Calgary police say they are investigating to see if a car fire Saturday night in Rocky View Country, north of Highway 567, northeast of Airdrie, is connected to Saturday’s shooting.

No details on any suspects or vehicle descriptions have been released.

Anyone with information or video from the area is asked to contact police at 403-266-1234.

Those wishing to remain anonymous can contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, online or by downloading the P3 Tips app.

WIth files from Brittany Ekelund

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