Charges in November homicide sign of improved relationship with police, Somali leader says
Friday, February 08, 2013
BY BRENT WITTMEIER
Police on the scene of a suspected stabbing in the Alberta Avenue area that sent one man to hospital on Nov. 19, 2012.
EDMONTON - A break in a November homicide is a sign of improving relations with Edmonton police, says a leader in the Somali-Canadian community.
On Thursday, Edmonton police announced Canada-wide warrants for Hassan Isse Ismail, 29, who faces charges of second-degree murder and possession of a weapon.
The charges stem from the Nov. 19 death of Aden Ahmed, 24, a Somali-Canadian who was the city’s 26th homicide of 2012.
Ahmed died in hospital after he was stabbed in a fight between several men inside a house at 11308 94th Street.
Ismail came to the attention of police shortly after the killing, Det. Mark Bloxham said.
“We believe there is a possibility he might be in the greater Toronto area,” he said. “At this point in time, we have no reason to believe this homicide is drug related.”
Ismail is six-foot-three and more than 200 pounds, has ties to the Toronto area and is known to police. Police warn he is potentially armed and dangerous.
At the time of his death, Ahmed had a scheduled court appearance for charges of possession of drugs for trafficking, possession of stolen property, and failure to comply with court orders. He had previously been sentenced to four years in prison after he stabbed a man in the chest on an Ottawa bus in Sept. 2008.
The issuing of a Canada-wide warrant is a sign that the relationship of Edmonton police and Alberta’s Somali community has improved, said Ahmed Hussen, president of the Canadian Somali Congress.
More than 30 Somali-Canadian men have died violent deaths in Alberta since 2006, with about half of the victims killed in Edmonton. All but a handful of those cases have gone unsolved. Over the past few years, local community leaders pointed to that as evidence more needs to be done in Edmonton.
Hussen said he’s aware of eight or nine investigations in which police have seen increased co-operation with the community.
“We were doing a lot of this work in 2011 and 2012, but the fruits we’re starting to see now with a lot of these cases. It’s good news,” Hussen said.
In response to the string of violent deaths, the Toronto-based Hussen has spent considerable time in Alberta since 2008, working with schools and police forces to improve outreach programs and prevention. Those successes tend to be eclipsed whenever violent incidents occur, Hussen said.
“Edmonton has a lot to be proud about,” he said. “We’re able to move ahead quicker and faster and more comprehensively in Edmonton than we were in Toronto and Ottawa. We’re actually learning from the things that worked in Edmonton.”