Violent crimes spike in Halifax area over 24 hours
HALIFAX -- Police in the Halifax area faced a busy weekend on Saturday and Sunday as they dealt with a suspicious death and three other violent crimes -- all occurring within a 24-hour period. While there’s no indication that any of the incidents are connected, residents and anti-violence advocates say the string of events is concerning.
Residents of Lynwood Drive in Dartmouth were shocked when they heard one of the neighbourhood’s oldest residents died on Saturday morning -- a death that police are investigating as suspicious.
“I'm in disbelief, can't believe it,” says one neighbour named Shelley.
“We've lived here, 24 to 25 years, and that doesn't happen in this neighbourhood," says another neighbour named Michelle.
"Just after 11 a.m., Halifax Regional Police responded to a call on Lynwood Drive regarding a person who had passed away,” says Halifax Regional Police Sgt. Tanya Chambers-Spriggs, recounting the incident. “Based on the scene, there are some concerns; we're just waiting for an autopsy at this time to determine the cause and manner of the death."
Neighbours say the resident of the home was an 85-year-old woman who was a widowed mother of three adult sons. Neighbours say she lived in the community for as long as they can remember.
"I used to hang around with her youngest son every day,” says Shelley. “She was a nice woman, very nice.”
“[She was] in very good shape; she looked after her own home, she mowed her own grass,” says Michelle.
However, the 85-year-old’s suspicious death wasn’t the only call Halifax Regional Police responded to on the weekend.
Sunday morning violence
“We have had a couple of shootings,” says Chambers-Spriggs. “We do have a suspicious death and also a stabbing that we are investigating, so it has been quite busy the last 24 to 48 hours."
Between 1 a.m. and 8 a.m. on Sunday, police responded to two shootings and a stabbing.
Shortly after 1 a.m., police were called to the Dartmouth Regional Hospital, where a 23-year-old man arrived suffering from a gunshot wound to his leg. Police say they believe the man was shot in the area of Lahey Road in Dartmouth.
A few hours later, police responded to a shooting in Halifax’s north end, where a 31-year-old man was shot. Police say they do not believe it was a random incident.
Both men remain in hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
After 8 a.m., police were called to a Dartmouth residence after an 18-year-old man was stabbed and taken to hospital with serious injuries.
"We have a suspect description as a white male in his late teens to early 20s in a dark four-door sedan, and a black male passenger in that vehicle," says Chambers-Spriggs.
Anti-violence activist Quentrel Provo says the recent increase in violent crime hits close to home.
“We're still in a pandemic and everything, but the warm weather is here, and now we're starting to see the violence rise over the past month or so,” says Provo. “It's really concerning and really frustrating. We have to figure out how to deal with this and deal with it soon."
Provo believes the COVID-19 pandemic and the lifestyle change it has brought about could be partly to blame for the recent spike in violence, especially domestic violence. He notes violence can affect individuals from all walks of life.
"You don't have to be in the street life, or caught up in things,” says Provo. “The way society is now, violence affects all. It has no limits, no boundaries; it doesn't check your religion, race or gender -- it affects all."
Meanwhile, as police await autopsy results and continue to investigate the elderly woman’s death, neighbours are concerned.
"I want to know what the outcome is,” says Michelle, who is considering moving away from the neighbourhood. “If the outcome is not good, this house is going to be sold – I will not come back to it.”
“She didn't deserve anything like that – if that's what happened," says Shelley.
If the woman’s death is deemed a homicide, it will be Halifax Regional Municipality’s sixth confirmed homicide of 2020 and the third homicide in two weeks.
Meanwhile, police continue to investigate.