A small eastern Ontario community is struggling to understand how two of its prominent citizens could have died in separate violent incidents on the same day last week.
On the evening of Feb. 11, John "Moe" Rowsom, a past president of the Royal Canadian Legion branch in Almonte, Ont., was walking with his wife near Negril, Jamaica, when he was struck and killed by a motorcyclist.
Earlier that day, Bernard Cameron, a two-term councillor for Almonte ward in the amalgamated municipality of Mississippi Mills, Ont., was shot to death in his home.
Almonte, about 50 km southwest of downtown Ottawa, has a population of about 5,000.
- Bernard Cameron, town councillor, and second man die after shooting at Almonte home
- Ottawa-area man dies after being struck by motorcycle in Jamaica
"It saddens me that we're starting to have all this tragedy piling up in one week," said Shaun McLaughlin, the mayor of Mississippi Mills, Ont., in which Almonte is located.
"I certainly hope that the old adage that bad news comes in threes is not the truth. Because we can't take much more of this."
Both men well respected
Cameron, 65, died in the Thursday morning shooting along with 33-year-old Travis Porteous, who shot both Cameron and his daughter Sarah — Porteous's former partner — before turning his gun on himself, sources said.
Sarah Cameron survived the shooting and was reportedly recovering in hospital, her lawyer told CBC News.
In addition to his political career, Cameron was also known around Almonte as a popular retired high school teacher.
After the shooting, about 200 mourners gathered at the Old Town Hall in Almonte to share memories of Cameron and his "love of the community," as one person put it.
Rowsom, who lived just outside Almonte in the small town of Clayton, Ont., was "a good lad" who was "always willing to come out and help," said Jeff Neil, first vice-president of Legion Branch 240 Almonte.
'Very trying week'
Rowsom served on the executive of the branch in the 1990s and was in good health at the time of his death — making it all the more unexpected, Neil said.
"It's been a very trying week in Almonte. It was a little bit of an added shock to the ongoing mess that's coming around here," said Neil.
"There's a lot of people that are upset and curious as to what's going on and when they will apprehend the individual that hit him."
Neil said the Almonte legion branch was waiting to hear when Rowsom's body would be returned to Canada, so that they could hold a memorial ceremony for him.
'A sad coincidence'
Jamaica police say they're looking for the driver of a Cobra CG 150 motorcycle who fled after the collision.
Ontario Provincial Police, meanwhile, say their investigation into the deaths of Bernard Cameron and Porteous is continuing.
Post-mortem examinations were completed at the Ottawa Hospital on Friday but the results will not be released, the OPP said.
McLaughlin said his wife was part of a locally staged play with Rowsom's wife just a few weeks ago — a sign of just how tight-knit the community is.
"We're 13,000 people here in the whole of Mississippi Mills," the mayor said. "And to have two prominent members of our community to pass in the same couple of days is startling news — a sad coincidence."