Mon. Aug 8th, 2022

Eric Hewer’s brother says he accepts the 19-year-old shared guilt in a quarrel with three teenage boys in July, but questions why it might cost him his life.

Eric was out celebrating his 19th birthday with a friend in Ottawa on the warm evening of July 26, when a confrontation with three teenagers on e-scooters — 15, 16, and 17, respectively — broke out when Eric’s friend did what police said was a driver error and they began chasing each other over a number of blocks.

It escalated into a physical confrontation among the teens and ended with Eric stabbing in the stomach and through the heart. He died almost instantly.

Ottawa homicide police announced Wednesday that they would not charge the 16-year-old boy who stabbed Eric to death and said they believe the teenager acted in self-defense.

“All parties involved played a role in Eric’s death, including him,” said his brother, Brendon Hewer.

Brendon, 27, said he would not defend his brother’s actions, but wondered if there would have been a different outcome if one of the teens did not have a weapon.

“I really think that if he did not carry a knife that day, that this would simply have been assault applications, probably on both people, because everyone had the opportunity to leave, everyone was pursuing each other, and Eric was the one who paid the ultimate price. , “he said.

Teenagers continued quarrels in 20 blocks

Brendon said he was kept up to date by the chief murder detective about the case, right up until police decided not to pursue charges after consulting prosecutors.

The following is an account of what happened that night, gathered in detail from information from Brendon and from sources with knowledge of the case.

It started as a case of what some might call “weather race” between people who had to share the road.

The altercation between the two groups began, according to sources, after the teens jumped on e-scooters in the direction of Rideau Station from Lansdowne.

According to Brendon, Eric was driving as a passenger in the car while his friend, who was also injured in the double stabbing, was driving in the car. CBC News does not name the friend.

Brendon said he was told by police that the two groups first collided after a driver error from Eric’s friend that triggered 20 blocks of continuous back-and-forth confrontation between the teens on the scooters and the men in the vehicle.

CBC News has not heard the teens’ accounts nor been able to contact their lawyers.

It back and forth included the scooter riders who interrupted the vehicle, insults and curses thrown from both groups, a verbal confrontation that saw Eric get out of the car before returning, as well as an attempt by Eric’s friend who was driving the car to turn around. and leave, Brendon said.

The scene of Ottawa’s 12th murder in 2021, seen here on July 27, is on Albert Street near Metcalfe Street. (Patrick Louiseize / CBC)

The assailant fled, but returned to defend the friend

Eventually, both groups came to the Metcalfe and Albert streets area, where Eric and his friend got out of the car after teens made a gesture that threatened to throw stones at the vehicle, Brendon said he was told by police.

The two men approached one of the teens and physically assaulted him, he said. His brother punched the 17-year-old in the face and was met immediately in return, Brendon said. Eric and his friend then had one of the teens on the ground, that was when Eric’s friend kicked the teenager in the shoulder, Brendon said.

According to sources, the 16-year-old boy fled when the physical confrontation began, but returned after seeing his friend beaten.

Brendon says he was told by police that the 16-year-old pulled a “pocket knife,” a single-bladed folding knife, and stabbed Erik’s friend in the stomach. Eric, with swollen fists, then turned to the 16-year-old, who then stabbed him once in the stomach and once in the chest, Brendon said.

Both Eric and his friend were unarmed, Brendon said. He does not want his brother remembered as a violent monster and instead calls it a tragedy with five teenagers.

“He made a mistake that day, but everyone else did, and he did not deserve to lose his life,” Brendon said.

‘He did not have to die’

Since 2016, Ottawa police have refused to prosecute in only two homicide cases because they concluded it was a case of self-defense, according to CBC records of all Ottawa homicide cases and charges.

Detectives consulted with prosecutors Wednesday and told Brendon that even if they would prosecute, there would be no reasonable prospect of conviction, he said.

Brendon said it is tragic to believe that his young brother’s life was shortened just as it began. He had worked at a local hardware store in Nova Scotia, where there are few opportunities to work, when he decided to move to Ottawa to start a new job. A move that Brendon also once made with the same goal.

“[Eric] went away to improve his life and make good money, “said his brother.” It’s just a tragedy. And he did not have to die that day. He did not have to die.

“Everyone lost that day, including the person who stabbed my brother. No one won.”

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