Mother of 2015 Jasmine Crescent stabbing victim calls for more police
'How many more children have to die?' asks mother of Issaiah Clachar
The mother of a teenage boy killed on the same Gloucester street where Nooredin Hassan became the city's fifth homicide victim of 2016 earlier this week is making an impassioned plea for heavier police presence in the neighbourhood.
Caroline Letourneau's 17-year-old son Issaiah Clachar was stabbed to death in September 2015 during a fight outside an apartment complex on Jasmine Crescent.
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Clachar's death occurred only a few blocks away from where Hassan, 20, was fatally shot Tuesday evening.
"I'd like to see that no other mother has to stand at the foot of her 17-year-old son's grave. I would like that they take serious what is happening — the madness that we're facing today, where killings or stabbings or shootings are the way to get even," Letourneau told CBC Ottawa on Thursday.
"I think police presence is needed. How many more children have to die? How many more adults have to die?"
3 homicides in 12 months
Three people have been killed on Jasmine Crescent in the past 12 months: Clachar, Hassan, and 18-year-old Connor Stevenson.
In April 2015, Stevenson, a former Gloucester High School student, was found stabbed to death inside the apartment building next to where Clachar was killed five months later.
Arrests have been made in both Clachar's and Stevenson's killings.
Letourneau said that when her family moved to Jasmine Crescent from Cornwall, Ont., in late 2014, she saw few signs of the violence that would erupt there over the coming months.
"Everything looked normal to us. We knew people who'd been here for 10, 20, 30 years. Everything seemed normal to me," Letourneau said.
Clachar was studying to become a welder and never mentioned anything about the neighbourhood being unsafe, Letourneau said.
Request should have come sooner
Beacon Hill-Cyrville Coun. Tim Tierney, whose ward includes Jasmine Crescent, met with Ottawa Police Chief Charles Bordeleau Thursday afternoon to discuss crime in his ward. He also attended a vigil held Thursday at the street corner where Hassan was killed.
The day after Hassan died, Tierney issued a strongly-worded statement calling for increased police patrols in the area. He said Thursday that request has, for now, been turned down.
A meeting involving community "leaders" — including school principals, coaches, and religious officials — will happen within the next week, Tierney said Thursday, with a public meeting to follow.
Letourneau told CBC Ottawa that shortly after her son's death, she made a similar request to the councillor, and said Tierney's call for more police should have happened "the first time a life was lost here."
"If it did, maybe my son would've been here today," Letourneau said.