Residents of a north-end community are worried about their neighbourhood after a 28-year-old man was gunned down in the parking lot of an apartment complex early yesterday morning.
“It’s very common in this area to hear gunshots, but usually it’s just kids playing around. Last night it was a true gunshot, and it was one of my friends that got murdered,” said Toni Bull, area resident and friend to the victim, who she knows only by the name “Ashley.” Media reports later reported the victim’s name was Ashley Charest.
Bull lives with her three young children in a townhouse across from the parking lot. She said she was awoken by a loud noise in the middle of the night.
“I didn’t think anything of it,” she said. She believes her friend was murdered over stolen crack cocaine. She said that though she met Ashley about a year ago through smoking crack together, he’d helped her get clean.
“He’d been telling me he wanted a life with his wife and his 10-year-old daughter and he wanted to straighten out,” Bull said through tears. “It’s so sad, we had a serious talk about quitting and he’s the one that motivated me to quit.”
Margaret Watt has lived on the ground floor of the building steps from where the shooting took place for two years. She said that since she’s lived there, the area has been on a steady decline.
“There are crack dealers in and out of here constantly, all day and all night,” she said, adding that she has been planning on moving out of the area.
She said that the shooting is troubling, as it happened footsteps away from a day-care centre that her eight- and nine-year-old nieces attend after school.
“I worry about the kids in there. We see crack dealers out there all the time, don’t we?” she said to her young nieces, who nodded in agreement.