Pubdate: Wed, 29 Nov 2017
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Postmedia Network Inc.
Author: Shaamini Yogaretnam
Page: A3


Homicide victim attacked outside after looking for place to smoke pot,
cops say

Police believe a teen who was fatally stabbed in Vanier was just
looking for a place to smoke weed purchased at an illegal dispensary
when he wound up inside a crack den, the Citizen has learned.

Zakaria Iqbal, just 18 years old and a Gloucester High School student,
died Monday night after an attack on Montreal Road.

Detectives believe that Iqbal and his friends purchased marijuana at
Dr. Greenthumb dispensary, also on Montreal Road. Employees at the
dispensary said police visited the pot shop Tuesday as part of their
homicide investigation, asking questions about who was there and when.

Though proposed government legislation, passed in the House of Commons
on Monday, will legalize recreational marijuana next year, privately
run dispensaries won't be part of that framework. All pot shops in
Ottawa - and the country - are operating illegally.

Dr. Greenthumb at 973 Montreal Rd. near Bathgate Drive, nearly three
kilometres from the homicide scene, opened last summer in a strip
mall. At the time, staff prided themselves on having the lowest pot
shop prices in town: $8.50 a gram.

The dispensary, like others in town, sells to anyone over 19. But
because illegal shops operate outside of a regulatory framework,
there's no check on whether underage patrons are buying the drugs. The
dispensary was last raided by police in early October. It reopened
days later.

After leaving the dispensary, police believe, Iqbal's group was
looking for a place to smoke. It's believed they wound up inside 276
Montreal Rd., a low-rise building on the corner of Lajoie Street. The
group eventually left and gathered in the back lot when a man,
believed to have been inside with them, began his attack.

One of the young men fled into a nearby bong store and locked himself
in the bathroom, screaming about the stabbing.

Iqbal was found without a pulse on the ground behind the apartment
building. Police received multiple 911 calls alerting them to a fight
in the area around 9:30 p.m. Initial reports to police were that as
many as three men had been stabbed. But as of late Tuesday they had
not found any other victims.

Iqbal was taken to the Civic campus of The Ottawa Hospital in critical
condition, and was pronounced dead just before 11 p.m. On Tuesday
morning, police were still processing the crime scene, which included
a large swath of blood on the snow-covered pavement.

Iqbal, a student at Gloucester High School, played basketball around
the city and in the Muslim Basketball Association. In an online forum
he said the sport motivated him to get out of bed every morning.

He came from a proud Afghan family who are well-known in the

A cousin, Fardeen Iqbal, said he couldn't believe Zakaria was killed
and that his "heart broke" when he learned the news.

Zakaria Iqbal's grandfather was assassinated by the communist regime
in 1981 as he prayed at a mosque, Iqbal's father and uncle told the
Ottawa Citizen in 2001 as they tried to balance their love of their
homeland with growing fears about acceptance in North America after
the 9/11 terror attacks on the United States.

In 2004, Zakaria Iqbal, then just four years old, greeted a fellow
Afghan boy arriving in Ottawa for life-saving surgery at CHEO for a
congenital heart defect. He was one of about 30 people gathered at the
hospital trying to make the boy feel at home. A newspaper photograph
shows Zakaria offering the boy flowers.

Rahim Iqbal, Zakaria's father, a cab driver for many years, was a
founding member of the Islamic Society of Gloucester, which converted
a small storefront on Donald Street into prayer space for the
community back in August 2007.

Attempts to reach him on Tuesday were unsuccessful.

Late Tuesday, police had yet to make any arrests in the homicide, the
city's 14th of 2017.
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