Hamilton police homicide unit investigating east end death

The Hamilton police homicide unit has been called in to investigate the suspicious death of a 57-year-old man. It could be the city's third murder of 2014.
Police officers were stationed outside a King Street East apartment building Friday where a 57-year-old man was found dead Thursday evening. (Adam Carter/CBC)

Yellow police tape still surrounds an east end apartment building where a 57-year-old man was found dead Thursday evening.

Police were called to a small walk-up on King Street East at the corner of Edgemont Street South just after 6:30 p.m.

Officers are canvassing the building Friday morning and the coroner has been called in to assist with the investigation. Forensics units could be seen at the building Thursday night. As of Friday morning, police consider the incident a suspicious death.

Police investigate the death of Ernie Sitter at an east Hamilton apartment building on Friday, January, 10, 2014. The 57-year-old man was found dead the previous day. (Adam Carter/CBC)

Police are questioning people who live in the building. An autopsy has been scheduled for Friday morning to determine the cause of death.

Hamilton police say they will not release the name of the victim until the autopsy has been performed. Regional coroner Dr. Jack Stanborough told CBC Hamilton that the condition of the scene and the body were "criminally suspicious."

"The scene findings were fairly concerning," he said, adding that he couldn't be more specific about details as it's an ongoing investigation. The autopsy will include a full toxicology report, he said.

"It's going to be a little while to completely sort this out."

Agostino Dinardo has been running a barbershop that sits under the building for 57 years. Dinardo told CBC Hamilton that he’d occasionally see the man in the area.

“Sometimes we’d say hi and hello when I see him,” he said. “He was a good guy.”

Dinardo says the apartment doesn't have a history of problems. “It’s a good building,” he said. “They’re nice people. They’re family people. I never have no problem here, myself.”

Police would sometimes be called to the area a few years ago when “young people used to live upstairs,” he said.

“But when you’re in one place for 57 years you see lots of different people. Lots of people – mostly good.”

A small group of neighbours were gathered in the back lot of the apartment Friday morning behind police tape lines, but weren’t ready to talk about the incident.

“I don’t want to talk about my neighbour, no,” one woman said. Police tape could also be seen spiraled around a fire escape leading to the third floor of the building.

The homicide unit is asking anyone with information to contact Det. Ben Adams at 905-546-3836 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.