Jasmine Crescent violence leads to meeting of community leaders

Gloucester community leaders — including high school principals, youth sports coaches and religious leaders — gathered for a closed-door meeting Thursday night to discuss recent extreme violence on Jasmine Crescent.

Three homicides on Jasmine Crescent in less than a year

City Councillor Tim Tierney leads a community meeting to discuss recent violence on Jasmine Crescent in Ottawa's Gloucester neighbourhood. Tierney is joined by Laurie Beaudoin, who lost her son to violence on the street nearly a year ago. (CBC)

The mother of an 18-year-old man killed nearly a year ago on the same Gloucester street that's seen recent extreme violence joined community leaders Thursday night to discuss neighbourhood safety.

Laurie Beaudoin's son Connor Stevenson was stabbed to death in the stairwell of her Jasmine Crescent apartment building in April 2015.

Since then, two other young men have been killed on the same street.

On Thursday night, about two dozen community members — including high school principals, youth sports coaches and religious leaders — gathered for a closed-door meeting with area city councillor Tim Tierney and officials from the Ottawa Police Service to discuss ways to prevent violence, particularly amongst young people.

Speaking after the meeting, Beaudoin said she still feels "raw" when discussing her son's death, but said it's important she helps the community find solutions.

"If I don't, who will," said Beaudoin.

"If we keep turning our back it's just going to continue. So we have to step up and we have to say, 'listen, this is it.'"

Beaudoin said she doesn't feel the neighbourhood is inherently dangerous, but she would like to see more activities to engage young people and "keep them busy."

Community solutions explored

Community members who work with youth in the area were invited to Thursday night's meeting, including Tim Nellis, president of the Gloucester Centre Minor Hockey Association.

Nellis said he thinks youth sports groups like his can "help get youth involved and engaged doing something productive and also provide positive role models for them."

The principals of three area high schools were also at the community discussion.

"This solution is not just a policing solution, or a school solution, or a community centre solution," said Geordie Walker, principal of Rideau High School.

"The conversation in there was 'we all own this as a community.'"

'We're taking back our streets'

The area's city councillor Tim Tierney said Thursday night's meeting provided "good dialogue."

He said he will continue to ask the police chief for increased policing and video surveillance for the neighbourhood.

Tierney also said the group is planning a community walk on April 10 that will start at Lester B. Pearson High School and pass through Jasmine Crescent before finishing at Gloucester High School.

"We're going to show that we're taking back our streets," said Tierney.

"These are our streets, and we don't like this thuggery and this craziness that's occurred."