City cops are investigating a suspicious death in the city’s East Village but witnesses in the area are calling it a murder over drugs.
Around 2:15 p.m. yesterday police were called to the 400 block of 9th Ave. SE and found a man slumped on the ground, and later pronounced dead on scene.
Amongst yellow tape surrounding the trees behind city hall, police poured over the crime scene with dozens of onlookers, many of them not surprised about the body covered by a tarp mere feet away.
“I walked by there before the police covered him up and his face was unrecognizable. You could tell he was beat pretty bad but I can’t tell who it is,” one man told Metro.
Although police aren’t calling it a homicide, citizens in the area, including nearby Salvation Army residents, are saying the victim was beat to death in a botched drug deal.
“We saw him laying there with his face smashed in with blood everywhere. He was killed over crack. You gotta watch your back around here,” Jeff said, refusing to use his last name.
Former Salvation Army resident Steve Hibbs was on his way to the shelter to pick up his stuff when he saw the body.
“That’s crack cul-de-sac. I just got beat up there two weeks ago. It’s dangerous and scary. There are people fighting and getting jumped here day and night.”
East Village Salvation Army spokesperson Karen Evick said some of the clients in the centre may have witnessed the physical assault and were taken in for questioning.
“It’s getting more difficult to monitor the area. It took place off of our property, but our security cameras may have caught what happened,” she said, adding the victim was not a client.
Duty Insp. Dave Wood told reporters about a dozen witnesses were taken in for questioning.
“We don’t know what led up to the incident. We have witnesses giving conflicting information. But, investigators are piecing it together,” Wood said.
The homicide unit continues to investigate and the medical examiner will confirm cause of death and the victim’s identity.