Crime headlines in 2014 were dominated by record-high incidents of gun violence, and one of the leads of the major crimes unit says the relatively low number of homicides — seven — is in part thanks to the care of paramedics and hospital staff.
"There were a lot of shootings this year. Some of those people had serious wounds and some of them had minor wounds, and I would chalk up the serious wounds to the care they received from emergency services at the scene and follow-up services at the hospital," said Staff Sgt. Rob Drummond in an interview in December.
"I'm not part of the health-care system, but from the outside looking in, if [paramedics get] to you quickly and can essentially plug the holes and get you to the hospital, your chances of surviving here in Ottawa are very high."
1 unsolved case in 2014
While none of the year's homicides have resulted in convictions so far, police consider a case solved once charges are laid, or when the primary suspect (or accused) are deceased.
Of the seven homicides in 2014, one remains unsolved: the Aug. 23 stabbing death of 21-year-old Jabeir Jemmie outside of several bars on Elgin Street.
In Jemmie's case, police released several photographs of persons of interest they were hoping to identify.
Drummond said investigators have since identified and spoken to all of them, but that they weren't much help.
"There are people who are in the inner circle, let's call it, and are much more in the know than they're telling us," he said. "There was limited co-operation from people that I think who could be in a position to tell us what happened, and they decided not to co-operate with us."
2013 Amy Paul, Malik Adjokatcher cases remain unsolved
Of the 23 homicides from 2012 to 2014, only two others, from 2013, remain unsolved: the May 14 shooting death of 24-year-old Malik Adjokatcher on Ritchie Street, and the death of 27-year-old Amy Paul, whose body was found in a field in south Ottawa, on Sept. 17.
In both cases police issued $50,000 rewards for information, which have yielded some tips, Drummond said, though not enough.
"We had hoped for more, and we're hopeful that more will come at some point," he said.
"We could have a change tomorrow. ... Some of them may be long term, some of them may be short term. Those are the things I can't predict. It all depends on co-operation and witnesses and evidence."
Deceased suspects do not end investigations
Two of the 2014 homicide cases involve deceased suspects.
Yassin Mender, 60, took his own life after stabbing his wife — 51-year-old Alem Haile — to death in their home in December. And Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, who made international headlines for storming Parliament Hill after shooting Cpl. Nathan Cirillo to death in front of the National War Memorial, was himself gunned down in Centre Block.
But police don't end homicide cases just because charges can't be laid in court. Investigators proceed as if the suspect were alive, and stop short, obviously, of bringing the cases to court.
The major crimes unit continues to assist RCMP in their Zehaf-Bibeau investigation, and continues to work on December's murder-suicide.
1. Jagtar Gill, 43, was found stabbed to death in her home at 174 Brambling Way in Barrhaven on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014. Her husband, Bhupinderpal Gill, and a neighbour, Gurpreet Ronald, were each arrested and charged with first-degree murder. A preliminary hearing for both of the accused is expected on Jan. 26, 2015.
2. Luce Lavertu, 49, died after her throat was slashed in her home at 634 St. Bruno St. in Orleans on Tuesday, April 22, 2014. Her son, 18-year-old Christopher Gobin, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder.
3. Brandon Volpi, 18, was stabbed to death near the Les Suites Hotel at 130 Besserer St. on Saturday, June 7, 2014. Devontay Hackett was later arrested in Toronto on a Canada-wide warrant and was charged with second-degree murder. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 20, 2015.
4. Jabeir Jemmie, 21, was stabbed at about 2:35 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014, in front of several bars at 360 Elgin St. The stabbing happened after a fight that started inside a bar. Police later released several photos of persons of interest. No arrests have yet been made and the case remains unsolved.
5. Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, 24, was shot and killed while standing guard at the National War Memorial on Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014. The gunman, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, was later shot and killed inside the centre block at Parliament Hill, and therefore no charges will be laid.
6. Tausif Chowdhury, 23, was found dead Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014, lying in the brush off a path between the Airport Parkway and the South Keys Transitway station. Investigators located a hammer, potentially the murder weapon, from the Sawmill Creek Reservoir nearby. Two 19-year-old Ottawa men — Steven Kozielo and John Ruch — were arrested and charged with manslaughter and robbery in Chowdhury's death.
7. Alem Haile, 51, was stabbed by her husband, 60-year-old Yassin Mender, who then killed himself, in their town home at 2022 Beaconwood Dr. early the morning of Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014. A 16-year-old boy was inside the home at the time and suffered an injury. No charges will be laid.