At about 2am on Sunday, November 6, 21-year-old Solomon Odekunle was seen stumbling out of a popular hangout, Piper’s Bar and Grill, in Ottawa, Canada, with blood gushing out of his neck.
Eyewitnesses interviewed by the police said few steps away, he collapsed on Coventry Road. He was later pronounced dead in the hospital.
According to Ottawa’s CBC News, Solomon, who was stabbed by a suspect, who has been identified as 27-year-old Joe Ndikuriyo, was the 17th victim of homicide in Ottawa since the beginning of 2016.
Saturday PUNCH learnt that Ndikuriyo is a Burundian national.
Even though the police in Ottawa have said they were still piecing together the timeline of events that led to the victim’s death, news reports suggest that he was stabbed during a fight between Ndikuriyo and another individual over a woman.
The victim, whose father is a pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God in Lagos according to residents of their neighbourhood in Fagba, Lagos, was admitted to the University of Ottawa in 2012 to study Economics.
Saturday PUNCH visited his parents’ house at the Rotimi Williams Estate, Fagba Estate on Thursday, a fenced mansion, where a domestic employee explained that Solomon’s father had travelled while the inconsolable mother had relocated temporarily from the house.
It was later learnt that the father had flown out to Canada after learning of the tragic murder of his son.
Solomon’s sister, Deborah, who is also studying in Canada, shared heart-breaking words on Twitter that corroborated words of Solomon’s friends, who described him as a meek and funny young man.
According to her, she saw him last a week before the incident.
She said, “If I did know it would be your last, I would have given you more than a fist bump. I would have gotten down on my knees and give you the deepest bro-hug.
“If I did know it would be your last, I would have pleaded with the drama leader to allow the rehearsal to linger a little so you and Peter could make us giggle a little more with some frog jump.
“If I did know it would be your last, I would have treasured those great words you shared with me a couple of months ago in the technical department, have them handwritten with the best calligraphic pens, framed and given to you right after doing those frog jumps.
“To the Solomon I saw last week, to the Solomon that finally got his picture taken properly last week, to the Solomon with an intellectual smile and chubby cheeks, to the Solomon his friends described as kind-hearted and meek, see you next.”
Deborah explained that her father would be attending a wake organised to take place on Friday (yesterday).
“We would be having a memorial service for Solomon in Ottawa Friday evening and it is open to anyone that would like to come. Please, if you make it down, don’t cry because my dad would be there. I also believe that as Christians, we do not mourn, we celebrate life,” Deborah said.
There has been an outpouring of grief by Solomon’s friends and acquaintances on social media since the news of his death broke.
One friend wrote: “I’m lost for words. Rest in peace, Solomon. Such a gentle, polite, well mannered, intelligent, kind hearted young man! This is terribly sad.”
One of Solomon’s lecturers, Ryan Katz-Rosene, also tweeted, “(I am) absolutely devastated to learn of death of my #uOttawa student, #SolomonOdekunle – a kind, thoughtful and bright young man. May he rest in peace.”
The crime scene of Solomon’s death was an extensive area, which the police had to cordon off to gather evidence.
Staff Sgt. Bruce Pirt of the Ottawa’s crimes unit said it was a big scene because they had to analyse all the blood and potential evidence that were found all over the place.
“We do have some bloodletting that covered quite an extensive area, we have to make sure it’s all connected to the same incident. As we investigate further, we’ll be able to tighten up that scene and make it smaller and smaller,” Pirt said in a report by CBC News.
The suspect in the stabbing, who was said to have served a previous two-week jail term for weapons possession, was arrested the day after the attack.
He has since been charged with second-degree murder.