Ottawa

'About 4 cops with their guns drawn': Neighbour saw police kill man who stabbed women, teen girl

Late Monday night on Anoka Street in south Ottawa, Scott Babbitt was inside his home with a nearby window open when he heard screams coming from outside.

Two victims stabbed to death, suspect not yet publicly identified

A man stands in front of crime scene tape on a residential street.
Scott Babbitt watched as Ottawa police shot and killed a 21-year-old man who had just stabbed two people and was in the process of stabbing a third on Anoka Street late Monday night. (Francis Ferland/CBC)

Late Monday night on Anoka Street in south Ottawa, Scott Babbitt was inside his home with a nearby window open when he heard screams coming from outside.

He didn't think it could be anything nefarious, but about 15 minutes later he stepped outside to investigate and watched as police shot and killed a 21-year-old man who had just fatally stabbed a woman and a teen girl and was in the process of stabbing another woman.

"Just as I walked out, I saw about four cops with their guns drawn at this individual with a ball cap on. It was dark, I couldn't really make out who it was. And then ... they just started firing at the guy. They had been yelling at him," Babbitt recalled.

As the assailant lay on the ground, officers continued screaming at him to put down his knife, Babbitt said. The suspect was speaking but Babbitt couldn't make out what he was saying.

After about a minute or so the assailant's speech became muffled and he moved less and less. Then he stopped moving and making sounds altogether, Babbitt said.

Yellow police tape can be seen across a residential street with police and SIU vehicles parked on either side. A female police officer stands near the middle of the road.
Ontario's SIU is investigating a police shooting involving Ottawa officers that left a 21-year-old man dead and a 19-year-old woman injured. Police were called to Anoka Street around 10:30 p.m. on Monday following a stabbing that left two others dead. (Stu Mills/CBC)

"It's very, very shocking. Nothing like that has ever happened in my life ..." he said.

"We are very shocked, and it's very unnerving to be looking at bodies 50 yards away from your driveway being worked on."

Ontario's police watchdog, the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), has said that when the assailant ignored orders to drop the knife, three officers fired. They killed the suspect but also struck the woman he had been stabbing, SIU said in a media release.

That 19-year-old woman is recovering in hospital. The SIU said she suffered a "non-life threatening gunshot wound," while Ottawa police said she had also suffered "multiple serious stab wounds."

Here's more of what we know so far:

The victims

Ottawa police have identified the two people the man stabbed to death as 50-year-old Anne-Marie Ready and 15-year-old Jasmine Ready.

Neighbours say the home on Anoka Street is owned by a woman with two daughters. They described the area as quiet and expressed shock at what happened.

Sally Babbitt, Scott Babbitt's mother, said the most disturbing aspect wasn't how close it was to her home.

"It's that something this terrible has happened to this very nice family," she explained. "It's just horrific and we feel awful for them. Everybody kind of knows the girls because they're so friendly."

Nouh Ibrahim said he'd lived on Anoka Street for about 12 years and had seen the mother and her daughters doing things like walking the dog and mowing the lawn.

"Complete shock," he said, when asked about the violence on his street. "I couldn't comprehend something like this would happen in this neighbourhood."

Despite living on the street for years, Ibrahim said what happened Monday night left him feeling "uneasy" and wondering about safety.

The timeline

A 911 call came from a home on Anoka around 10:30 p.m.

"Screaming could be heard" and the caller reported someone was being stabbed, SIU spokesperson Monica Hudon said on Tuesday.

The police watchdog said officers pulled up to find a man stabbing a woman on the road.

When he didn't listen to demands that he drop the knife, three officers opened fire, Hudon said.

What neighbours saw

The area was flooded with police cruisers and flashing lights in the aftermath of the shooting, according to those who live along the street.

"I heard four bangs and it sounded like gunfire," recalled David Babbitt, Sally's husband.

Noella Buenti told CBC News she heard gunshots too and saw the suspect's body lying on the road.

"It was unbelievable," she said. "I don't know how many police cars were here; it was over 10, 12 police cars; an ambulance, everything."

Buenti also said she spoke to the boyfriend of one of the stabbing victims.

"[The boyfriend] was very upset and wouldn't talk. He just said there's someone with a knife. And the police asked [the suspect] to put down the knife and he wouldn't. And then they shot him," she said.

SIU investigation

The SIU has assigned two investigators and two forensic investigators to the case.

Those investigators were still in the process of confirming the identities of the man and woman who were shot as of Tuesday.

The unit said it's designated three "subject officials" — the police officers who fired their guns and are being investigated — and six others officers as witnesses.

Brian Samuel, interim president of the Ottawa Police Association, described the events of Monday night as a "call for service with a tragic result."

It will have a lasting effect on both members and the community, he wrote in a statement.

"These are the difficult calls that don't happen often, but when they do, our officers respond in a professional manner, and do what they are trained to do," Samuel added.

A post-mortem for the man killed by police was scheduled for Wednesday.

With files from Avanthika Anand, Hallie Cotnam, Kristy Nease, Claudine Richard, Shaamini Yogaretnam

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