Residents of London apartment complex feel varying degrees of safety amid homicide investigation

Residents of the east London apartment complex where a man was killed earlier this week have mixed feelings about the level of safety in the area.

Roughly 24 hours after responding to 165 Connaught Ave. and finding a man dead with “obvious trauma,” London police laid a second-degree murder charge against 38-year-old Samnang Kong. They say the suspect and the victim, 55-year-old Issara Norindr, knew each other and were in Norindr’s home before there was an altercation.

“This stuff can happen anywhere in the city, really,” said Paul Burgess. He’s lived in an apartment building across from 165 Connaught Ave., which drew heavy police presence Monday afternoon, for about nine years.

“People think that I’m going to walk out in the hallway and think I’m going to get stabbed or something, but all the stuff is all things that happen probably between families and people that are targeted. Our area is pretty safe; I find it safe.”

Emmanuel Awai was also gunned down in the same neighbourhood on Dec. 28, 2016. William Dwayne McDonald is expected to stand trial for a second-degree murder charge in connection to Awai’s death.

“I think if they put cameras on the outside, it might deter people from doing things. But as far as what goes on inside the apartments, you can’t really — you don’t know what’s going to happen,” said Burgess.

John Reyes lives in a second-floor unit at 165 Connaught Ave., directly next door to the one where police focused their investigation.

“We didn’t hear anything,” he said.

Reyes said he doesn’t know the individuals involved in the altercation but that he feels “very bad about the family.”

He doesn’t have concerns about safety in the area, either.

“I’m not moving anywhere,” Reyes said. “The rent here is quite decent.”

But CJ Ugwede, who lives on the third floor of the apartment building with his mom, Anthonia Ugwede, and his two teenage sisters, is looking for different accommodations in the wake of Monday’s violence.

“It was really awful,” said CJ.

“Everybody was really scared. Right now, (my mom is) even planning to relocate. She’s looking for an apartment. I thought this was a really safe place for us to stay.”

“I become afraid,” said Anthonia. “I don’t know who does that — who’s the next person? It’s like, I don’t know. That’s why I’m scared.”

London police continue to probe the case and say there’s no concern for the public’s safety.

It’s the third homicide investigation this year in London, after Nicholas Baltzis was stabbed to death in January and Brian Maksoud died in hospital from an arrow wound in February.

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