Calgary, AB,

Police releasing suspect photos in downtown homicide

UPDATE: Charges have been laid in this case and we are no longer looking to identify a suspect.

We continue to investigate a fatal shooting that occurred outside the Junction Underground nightclub on the weekend and are asking for the public’s help to identify a suspect.

Officers were called to the nightclub, located at 628 8 Ave. S.W., around 2:40 a.m., on Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021, for reports that someone had been shot outside. The victim was taken to hospital but died as a result of his injuries and a second man who had also been shot drove himself to the hospital.

Investigators believe that the victim left the nightclub with a female friend around 2:30 a.m., when two men who were loitering outside started making unwanted sexual advances on and physical contact with his friend. It is believed that the victim intervened and an altercation occurred that ended with the suspect drawing a firearm and shooting the victim, as well as accidentally shooting the acquaintance who was loitering outside the club with the suspect.

The shooter fled the scene on foot by heading eastbound along 8 Avenue S.W. The second man fled the scene in a black Mercedes sedan with BC licence plates, which he then drove to the hospital. The second man has been uncooperative with the investigation.

On Tuesday, Oct. 12, the autopsy was completed and the victim was formally identified as 31-year-old John Mitchell Smith Jr. He was a Calgarian who had moved here a few years ago from Washington state in the United States to play college basketball.

“John was a victim of a random crime,” said Staff Sergeant Martin Schiavetta with the Calgary Police Service Homicide Unit. "He was a man that volunteered countless hours coaching basketball and serving with organizations that make our city a better place. Helping his friend cost him his life and we will do everything we can to bring his killer to justice.”

Investigators collected as much evidence as possible the day of the shooting and then canvassed the area again yesterday once businesses reopened from the Thanksgiving weekend. CCTV photos of the suspect are now being released in the hope that someone will be able to help us identify him.

Investigators are also asking anyone with dashcam, cell phone or CCTV photos or video from the area that night to contact us, especially if either the suspect or the black Mercedes is captured.

Anyone with information on this homicide or the suspect’s identity is asked to call our non-emergency line at 403-266-1234. Tips can also be submitted anonymously to Crime Stoppers through any of the following methods:

TALK: 1-800-222-8477
APP: "P3 Tips"

Case # 21400870/3321