Joseph Cameron's funeral held on murdered friend's birthday
Grieving mother of Stacey Adams notes striking similarities between life of her son and last week's victim
They are tragedies with chilling similarities.
Five years ago, a young Dartmouth man, Stacey Adams, was gunned down in Lake Echo at the age of 20. He had no criminal record. He was expecting his first child and working to provide a future for him, family members said.
Last week, another young black Nova Scotian was fatally shot in a Dartmouth neighbourhood. Joseph Douglas Cameron, 20, also had no criminal record and was in the process of joining the Canadian Armed Forces.
The two men grew up together. In fact, when Cameron died early in the morning of March 29, he was reportedly wearing a T-shirt bearing an image of his friend.
Gloria Adams, the mother of Stacey Adams, is shaken by Cameron's death.
"He grew up around here in Woodside. He was very close to my son," she said Tuesday. "Stacey was like his big brother. The kind of big brother, if you didn't go to school, he was going to come and look for you."
Funeral held on murdered friend's birthday
Cameron's funeral is being held Tuesday at Holy Trinity Emmanuel Anglican Church in Dartmouth. It's the same day as Stacey Adams's birthday — he would have been 25 years old. The five-year anniversary of his death is Saturday.
Gloria Adams said she was unable to attend Cameron's funeral; the events are too interconnected for her to deal with it emotionally. "Right down to the age, it is pretty ironic."
After Stacey died, his brother Timothy had T-shirts made with the man's image to commemorate his life.
"He started that and everybody wanted one and it just sort of blew up after that. It says: 'Stacey Adams. Stay on point,'" Gloria Adams said. "If you look at Joey's pictures, you'll see him wearing one, right down to his graduation. My understanding is that he died in it."
Halifax police are investigating Cameron's death. No arrests have yet been made.
The suspect in Stacey Adam's murder, Steven Skinner, remains at large, and is believed to be somewhere outside of Canada. He is on the Interpol's most-wanted list.
Mother denies drug connection
Adams is frustrated by the number of deaths of young black men in her community due to violence, particularly gunfire.
"It keeps happening and there is an assumption that they must be mixed up in gangs or drugs," she said. "It's a rough neighbourhood, sure, but these two young men weren't mixed up in any of that."
Police have said Adams' murder was drug related, but his mother denies that.
She believes her son was deliberately set up to be killed. "I believe it was a setup for my son, but it was also a setup for the murderer." She did not elaborate on why she thinks her son was targeted or who was behind it.
Cameron's murder will likely be solved quicker, she said, adding it looks like he was at the wrong place at the wrong time.
"The difference are … Joey was murdered on the sidewalk in Woodlawn, Stacey was murdered and his body, one would say, moved and hid," she said. Both deaths are equally tragic, she said.
Code of silence
Halifax police searched three houses on the weekend, seizing items related to Cameron's shooting death.
Adams also condemned the code of silence that prevents killers from being brought to justice.
"It makes no sense to me. It is saying, 'We're OK with this,' that anybody can go shoot anybody."
She urges people who know anything about the cases to come forward.
"We're all torn and we're all heartbroken."
'A lot of good kids'
Micah Marsman attended Cameron's funeral Tuesday, and said he will be deeply missed.
"A lot of people loved Joey. Joey was this quiet strong spirit with everybody, right," he said.
"This neighbourhood produces a lot of good kids, so I'm not saying any other kid's not good. But he was one of those good kids where he didn't have to say much but would touch you in a certain way. He was just really strong in that way."
Marsman, 35, also knew Stacey Adams and said he was like a brother to him.
"So there goes another light [in the neighbourhood]. And to lose two in five years, not easy and I still can't understand and wrap my head around it."
With files from Elizabeth Chiu