‘Where is Omar?’ A roommate issues desperate plea for answers in police shooting

‘Where is Omar?’ A roommate issues desperate plea for answers in police shooting

There’s a white plastic bag of fruit on the desk in Choul William’s cramped bedsitter. Among the once-bright orange clementines have greyed and dulled with mould. However he received’t contact them — they’re his pal Omar’s, and till he sees his physique, he refuses to imagine he’s gone.

Newfoundland and Labrador’s police watchdog was known as to Regatta Plaza within the east finish of St. John’s on June 12 to what it known as an officer-involved taking pictures that left one man lifeless and a Royal Newfoundland Constabulary officer injured. The officer was handled in hospital and launched the subsequent day.

That very same morning throughout city, William mentioned his fellow Sudanese-Canadian roommate, Omar Mohammed, showered, ate breakfast, then left with headphones and a backpack on. 

Mohammed, 38, has been residing with him in a small bungalow containing a number of rented bedrooms within the west finish of St. John’s, since June 1. For days, William mentioned, he slept on the ground — the one area left — whereas Mohammed used his mattress. 

“Omar wanted a spot to remain that’s why he died for. He went to choose up his cheque, rental cheque,” mentioned William in an interview Tuesday.

“He wanted a rental cheque to remain right here with me on this tiny room.”

Mohammed was going to get a authorities cheque to pay the owner of the bedsitter whereas William went on a job search. 

However Mohammed by no means returned. 

A man is wearing a red dress shirt and grey suit jacket.
Omar Mohammed, 38, started residing in St. John’s almost a decade in the past. (Submitted by Catherine Fairly)

“The place is Omar? What occurred to him? No person inform me the reality,” mentioned William.

William mentioned he turned involved after he didn’t hear from Mohammed for a number of hours. Then, somebody informed him to verify the information.

“They mentioned, your pal has been shot. I mentioned, ‘No, I don’t know, it’s not Omar.’ He mentioned, ‘Yeah, you bought to verify, buddy.’”

Shortly after, William mentioned he known as 911. 

“Any individual left and didn’t come again. I informed the police this man has a psychological challenge, he left my home and didn’t come again. I heard rumours somebody received shot — might or not it’s him or no?” William mentioned, including the one who he spoke with informed him they might name him again, however didn’t.

William mentioned he obtained a name Monday, per week after the taking pictures, from a member of SIRT-NL who organized a gathering for Wednesday. He suspects he can be formally informed what occurred. 

WATCH | Choul William speaks with CBC Information about his pal Omar Mohammed: 

where is omar a roommate issues desperate plea for answers in police shooting 1

Roommate of man presumed killed in encounter with police desires solutions

Choul William says his pal Omar Mohammed didn’t come dwelling final Monday, and he has been attempting for greater than per week to substantiate he’s the one who was shot and killed by police final week.

Ready for burial

SIRT-NL mentioned final Tuesday it will not be publicly releasing any additional particulars till Mohammed’s subsequent of kin was notified. However William and different members of the Sudanese group who spoke to CBC Information reject the concept his non-biological household couldn’t be notified too, given the truth that Mohammed arrived in Canada with out some other household and has been largely supported by fellow former refugees.

They are saying they’re distressed that Mohammed has not but been buried. A member of the Sudanese group who tracked down residing family members at a refugee camp in Chad, a rustic in north-central Africa, mentioned they haven’t been notified but.

“I need to see him. I’ve be certain that that is Omar,” mentioned William. “And at the moment, I’ll inform my group Omar is lifeless. The group will come collectively and bury him.”

Within the nook of the bed room the 2 males shared are all that’s left of Mohammed: Blankets, a folding chair and a black swimsuit jacket.

His loss of life doesn’t simply mark the tip of a life, William mentioned, however the lack of years of effort he and docs put in to maintain his pal wholesome and his thoughts occupied from the horrors of conflict he left behind. 

“He used to cry on my own. You’d see him, Omar is sweet, all of the sudden he’d cry and all of the sudden he’d love after which all of the sudden he’d discuss to himself, similar to that. All of a sudden he may very well be quiet for a very long time. Not even say a phrase,” mentioned William. 

Mohammed was a toddler solider in Darfur, a war-stricken area of western Sudan, the place tons of of hundreds of individuals have died. Hundreds of thousands extra have been displaced for the reason that early 2000s. Mohammed later fled to a refugee camp in Ghana and stayed there for 3 years earlier than being designated as a refugee by the United Nations Excessive Fee for Refugees.

Hands open a plastic bag containing clementines.
Choul William opens a bag of fruit that his roommate, Omar Mohammed, left behind final Monday when he headed to get a authorities cheque to pay his hire. (Darryl Murphy/CBC)

Mohammed got here to St. John’s in 2014. However William mentioned he was consumed by the loss of life he had witnessed and the violence that’s nonetheless occurring as we speak, and two years in the past requested to be repatriated to Sudan. 

“I informed him Canada is protected, keep right here in Canada, we’ll attempt, docs, everybody will do our greatest to make you man and neglect what occurred and begin a brand new life,” William mentioned.

“I didn’t know they might kill him. What’s the distinction? They’ll kill him in Darfur and so they kill him right here.”

What occurred contained in the provincial authorities employment companies constructing has not been publicly disclosed. 

RNCA gives assist to members

Mohammed had a legal file, was identified to police and was wished on a warrant for breaching courtroom orders. Nevertheless, it’s not instantly clear if he died whereas police have been making an attempt to execute the warrant, or in the event that they have been known as to the workplace for one more motive.

The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Affiliation issued an announcement late Friday calling the state of affairs a tragedy for all concerned, and for the group.

“The usage of lethal power is one side of policing that ought to by no means be taken flippantly and we’re absolutely cooperating with the Critical Incident Response Group (SIRT) as they examine the incident,” mentioned the assertion, signed by RNCA president Workers Sgt. Mike Summers.

“As an affiliation we’re additionally dedicated to working with our members by this troublesome interval to make sure that they obtain the helps needed following a probably traumatic state of affairs.” 

In an electronic mail Tuesday, SIRT-NL director Michael King mentioned there was no new replace in its investigation. 

Learn extra from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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