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Man arrested outside Minto Sports Complex; no one injured

Photo by Brianna Campigotto.

Residents of Sandy Hill were on high alert after a gunman was arrested in the 500 block of Chapel Street on Aug. 31.

Phillip McGuffie, 22, was arrested with a loaded semi-automatic handgun just outside of Minto Sports Complex. He appeared in court the following day on a variety of charges.

Caroline Milliard, a spokesperson for the University of Ottawa, said “the whole incident was over in a matter of minutes,” and that by the time Protection Services were informed police were on campus the incident was over.

“Protection Services then went door-to-door inside the Minto Sports Complex to ensure that the people in the building who might have seen the police action knew everything was safe,” said Milliard. The university also sent out a tweet assuring students that campus was secure.

Police believe it was a confrontation between two people but the second individual has not been identified.

Last fall, a woman escaped a sexual assault attempt, also on Chapel Street, when a man took hold of her after she declined his advances, police said at the time.

Read more: Woman escapes sexual assault attempt in Sandy Hill
Read more: Man charged in Sandy Hill break-ins

That was around the same time a 34-year-old man was arrested and charged with three counts of breaking and entering, one sexual assault, and other charges after several women in the Sandy Hill area reported a man entering their homes and standing over them while they were asleep.

Shortly thereafter, a 17-year-old girl reported that she had been sexually assaulted by a cab driver while she was being dropped off in Sandy Hill.

Read more: Police investigate sexual assaults by cab drivers in Sandy Hill, Riverside Park

According to Staff Sgt. Mike Laviolette of the Ottawa Police Service, Sandy Hill isn’t any more at risk than other areas of Ottawa.

Sandy Hill is a densely populated area “so naturally you are going to get more of everything as a result,” said Laviolette.

Nicole Desnoyers, vice-president of services and communications of the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO), said the federation “remains committed to having conversations about student safety, no matter where students live, and to support students should they experience violence first-hand.”

She said students are using the Foot Patrol service, which provides volunteer escorts to help students get home safely, more than ever before. The increase has prompted the SFUO to expand the service.

“We are also exploring new ways to effectively promote the service to students living in the new Friel Residence,” said Desnoyers.

Ottawa police announced Sept. 4 that there will be an increased police presence on campuses in the National Capital Region.

The release describes how police “will be working with City, university and community partners to help ensure everyone has a safe and law-abiding return to campus.”

The initiative is not a result of violence in Sandy Hill, said Laviolette, but rather focused on police and bylaw complaints like disturbances, noise, public intoxication, and other complaints common to the area  This is the fourth year the project has been in place, and “calls for service have gone down quite a bit,” he said.

“The whole purpose is to try to get out ahead of the issues before they get created,” said Laviolette.

The release concluded, “efforts will continue throughout the month of September to ensure a safe and enjoyable return to campus for all residents.”