THUNDER BAY -- Simpson Street residents are aware of their neighbourhood’s reputation but many draw the line at expecting murder.
Although many residents were unwilling to speak on the record, Thursday’s fatal beating astonished those living in and around the Casablanca Apartment complex.
“I’m shocked,” said Mona Foss, who has owned Superior Sewing across the street from the apartment complex for six years.
“Over the last few years, there have been some drugs in the building next door. I think there’s drugs anywhere but I’ve never felt scared to come to work or leave work. I’ll stay here late at night. I was surprised.”
Irma Ricci has owned Irma’s Bridal next door for 28 years.
Her store was vandalized with a swastika last year and she’s occasionally frustrated with litter in her parking lot but she counted herself among many of the building’s neighbours in saying it’s a safe, residential community mostly populated with seniors.
“I’m surprised that Simpson Street has such a bad reputation,” Ricci said. “I’ve never had a problem with the neighbourhood.”
Raymond Kovac has been living on Simpson Street all his life.
He conceded the neighbourhood can get “a bit rowdy” at night but said that’s “nothing serious.”
He’s noticed the Casablanca Apartments have experienced a great deal of turnover.
“Young people get into drugs and alcohol and they go crazy in this building over here,” he said as he waited for the bus outside.
“I used to have some friends living in that building. Otherwise, this area’s nice and quiet all the time.”