Ottawa·In Depth

Ottawa homicides low in 2015 despite continued high rate of shootings

The homicide rate in Ottawa is once again lower than average, according to statistics from the last 30 years, even as incidents of gunplay continue to trend high.

The homicide rate in Ottawa is once again lower than average, according to statistics from the last 30 years, even as incidents of gunplay continue to trend high.

Since 1985 Ottawa police have investigated an average of 10 homicides per year, though the numbers can vary wildly: there were 25 homicides in 1995, for example, and only two in 2001.

There were seven homicide cases this year, all of which have been solved. (Police consider a case to be solved when charges are laid or when the suspect takes their own life.)

Major crimes unit Staff Sgt. Bruce Pirt says police have interviewed dozens of people, including pimps, johns, sex-trade workers, relatives and friends. (CBC)

Three of the seven homicides were the result of gunplay, and as of Dec. 15 there were 43 recorded shootings.

In 2014 there were a record-breaking 49 shootings, only one of which killed someone.

"Given the number of shootings in the city ... sometimes I am surprised there aren't more deaths," said Staff Sgt. Bruce Pirt, who leads the major crimes unit.

"But there's the advancement in medical that's always surprising us every time. People that you think may die do make a recovery. ... That's the way it happens."

Overtime costs

While there were fewer homicides this year, and they were generally solved within a week or so, the unit tasked with investigating killings contributed to the force's overtime budget deficit, according to Ottawa police Chief Charles Bordeleau.

Ottawa police logged an overall projected overtime deficit of $1.6 million, due in part to the year's homicide investigations, as well as missing persons cases and the airport taxi driver labour dispute, Bordeleau said.

Two of the homicides took place at a large highrise apartment building complex off Jasmine Crescent in the city's Beacon Hill South neighbourhood, meaning officers had a lot of apartments to canvas for information.

Police had to speak to hundreds of people in both cases — anyone within earshot or who could see the scenes, as well as others, Pirt said.

2015 homicides

1. Yusuf Ibrahim, 27, was shot inside a home on Forestglade Crescent at about 9:30 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 6. A source told CBC News he was shot multiple times in the back and was found on a couch. Months later, police offered a $50,000 reward for information. More than four months after the shooting, on June 19, 23-year-old Abdullahi Osman and Mohamed Abdi Abdullahi, 32, were arrested and charged with first-degree murder. They are scheduled to appear in court in January 2016.

2. Connor Stevenson, 18, was stabbed to death in the stairwell of an apartment building at 2020 Jasmine Cres. on the evening of Tuesday, April 14. Police initially said they were looking for two people and released images of them. David Dubois, 19, was arrested just more than a week after the stabbing and was charged with second-degree murder. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 2016.

3. Sharif Said, 21was shot multiple times and found by a passerby in the area of Tremblay and Belfast roads at about 6 a.m. on Sunday, May 3. He later died in hospital. A few days later police arrested Khalid Mohammad, 26, and Abdulaziz Abdullah, 28. Mohammad was charged with second-degree murder and Abdullah was charged with being an accessory after the fact. They are next scheduled to appear in court in February 2016.

4. Michael McRae, 51, was stabbed multiple times at about 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 7, in an apartment at 6632 Notre-Dame St. He was taken to hospital by paramedics where he was later pronounced dead. His father, 70-year-old John McRae, was arrested at the scene and charged with second-degree murder. His next court appearance is scheduled for October 2016.

5. Gail Fawcett, 54was stabbed to death in front of the home she shared with Gino Langevin at 209 Anna Ave. on Tuesday, July 21. Langevin, 45, was arrested at the scene and charged with first-degree murder. He was scheduled to appear in court earlier this month.

6. Issaiah Clachar, 17was stabbed to death in the 2000-block of Jasmine Crescent in the early morning hours of Sunday, Sept. 20. Keanu Croteau, 18, and Mohamad Hamade, 25, were both arrested the same day and charged with second-degree murder and attempted murder, respectively. They were scheduled to appear in court earlier this month.

7. Dady Junior Jean, 41was shot to death outside his apartment in the 300-block of Lacasse Avenue at about 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 14. Just less than two weeks later, police arrested and charged three people with first-degree murder: 23-year-old Johnnie Locey-Derouchie, 20-year-old Dominique Chrétien and 40-year-old Candy Locey. They were scheduled to appear in court earlier this month.