Bullet that killed 19-year-old woman outside Mississauga nightclub likely fired from SUV: Police

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Published January 9, 2024 at 11:45 am

Fatal Jungle Club shooting in Mississauga police press conference
Peel Regional Police Chief Nishan Duraiappah updates the media on a Dec. 31 nightclub shooting in Mississauga in which a young woman was killed.

The bullet that killed a 19-year-old woman as she stood in line to get into a busy Mississauga nightclub just over one week ago was likely fired from a passing SUV that then quickly sped away from the early morning scene, police say.

Homicide investigators with Peel Regional Police continue their search for a grey or light-coloured SUV that was spotted by witnesses leaving the area of the deadly shooting, which occurred outside Jungle Event Space, at Dixie Road and Eglinton Avenue East, at about 1:30 a.m. on Dec. 31.

At a press conference this morning at police headquarters in Mississauga, Peel police Chief Nishan Duraiappah, other brass and the lead investigator on the case appealed to any witnesses or those who may have video/dashcam footage of the SUV or the scene in general to contact police right away.

Speaking to the media, Acting Homicide Insp. Phillip King reiterated that Raneilia Richards, 19, of North York, was an “innocent bystander” and not the intended target of the fatal shooting, which occurred outside a club and plaza with a lengthy history of gun violence, deadly and otherwise.

Formerly known as HER nightclub, which shut down in late 2022 after a rash of gun violence, the location reopened several months later under the Jungle Event Space name, police said Tuesday morning.

Peel Regional Police Acting Homicide Insp. Phillip King speaks to reporters at police headquarters about the slaying of a 19-year-old woman at a Mississauga nightclub on Dec. 31.

Richards was standing in a line of about 100 people along with her sister and boyfriend when multiple gunshots rang out, one of the bullets striking and killing the young woman who would’ve began college yesterday with a dream of working in the travel and aviation industry.

“Raneilia was outside with her sister and boyfriend when she was senselessly killed by a bullet,” said King.

Duraiappah said given that multiple shots were fired towards the crowd, “it’s absolutely a miracle” that others weren’t hurt or killed.

Still, the loss of one life is tragic enough, he added.

“She was a young woman with a bright future…a talented athlete and friend to many,” said Duraiappah, noting Richards had planned to start college on Monday. “She had dreams and goals and aspirations.

“She was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Peel’s police chief continued, adding such senseless violence showing “a complete disregard for public safety” must stop.

As far as the investigation is concerned, King said it’s imperative that police hear from witnesses as soon as possible.

“Time is of the essence,” said King, not only for investigators, “but for the family and friends of this young woman. They deserve answers.”

He noted police are actively searching for the driver and occupants of a vehicle described as a light-coloured or grey SUV that was seen leaving the area immediately after the shooting.

Raneilia Richards, 19, shot to death at Mississauga nightclub.

Raneilia Richards, 19, was shot and killed on Dec. 31 at a Mississauga nightclub. (Photo: Peel Regional Police)

King stopped short of calling the slaying a drive-by shooting, but added that the shots “were likely fired from a vehicle.”

Asked if investigators believed the killing to be gang related, the homicide inspector said they’re looking at all possibilities.

Hundreds of people were inside the club for a ticketed event at the time of the shooting, police said, while Richards and 100 or so others were lined up outside.

Peel police also said today that they worked with both the City of Mississauga and Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario back in 2022 to get HER nightclub shut down due to the violence.

Police are searching for this SUV that was spotted at the scene of the Dec. 31 nightclub shooting in Mississauga. (Photo: Peel Regional Police)

Duraiappah said police “absolutely” remain concerned that the location attracts deadly gun violence.

According to police, the owners of Jungle Event Space voluntarily closed the club after the latest shooting.

Peel police Deputy Chief Marc Andrews, also in attendance at Tuesday’s press conference, said there is concern that the owners will seek to reopen under a new name, but “we are working with the city (of Mississauga) and AGCO” to stop that from happening.

Anyone with information or video footage, including dashcam recordings, is encouraged to contact homicide detectives at 905-453-2121, ext. 3205, or Peel Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477.

Map shows intersection in east Mississauga (Eglinton Avenue East and Dixie Road) where the deadly shooting took place.

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