July 10th, 2012
The landlord of a Halifax apartment building where a man was killed last month sent eviction notices to all of her tenants just days before the shooting.
Fatma Askri says she wants to dispel any notions about her property on Clifton Street.
“The shooting really destroyed me because I am not a crack landlord. I don’t run crack houses. I’m a very hardworking lady. I don’t run slum apartments,” she told CBC News on Tuesday.
Corey Duane Lucas was shot and killed in the building on May 25. Two weeks later, police returned to the property looking for drugs and weapons.
Halifax Regional Police said officers have been to the building 47 times since January 2011 — an average of nearly three times a month.
There are nine apartments in the building. Askri said it “became a crack house” when new tenants moved in to apartments 1 and 2.
Askri rented Apartment 2 to William Lee Bolliver and his mother, Susan Hawes, last October. They were arrested after a police raid Friday and charged with trafficking crack cocaine and oxycodone, and possession of a weapon.
Apartment 2 is where Lucas was gunned down. Bolliver was injured in the shooting. Black fingerprint dust was still visible on the door frame Tuesday.
Askri said she regrets ignoring the advice of her property managers when it came to renting to Hawes, who was on income assistance.
She didn’t do a criminal record check like she has done on other applicants.
Askri said Hawes called her crying, begging to be let into the building.
“I messed up with Hawes,” she said. “Because of my compassion, I messed up.”
When complaints about suspected drug activity started to pile up from tenants and neighbours in the upscale building next door, Askri decided the building needed a fresh start.
One month to leave
In mid-May, three days before Lucas was shot, Askri served all of her tenants with eviction notices. She said she told them it was due to repairs to the building.
“I took on myself to clean the building and start fresh again because bad apples spoil the rest of the basket,” she said.
Askri said she’s still shocked by the fatal shooting.
“I was devastated and I still am,” she said. “I didn’t expect this to happen in my building.”
The tenants have until June 22 to move out, but most are already gone. Askri said one woman who moved in last month is getting an extra few months to find a place because she’s such a new tenant.
Hawes, Bolliver and a co-accused are in custody awaiting a bail hearing next Monday.
Police have not arrested anyone in connection with Lucas’ death.