Clarence Street shooting victim struggled through life, mother recalls

·3 min read
Vuyo Percy Kashe holds his nephew in a photo submitted by his loved ones. Kashe died on the night of July 15, 2022, in a shooting on Clarence Street. (Submitted - image credit)
Vuyo Percy Kashe holds his nephew in a photo submitted by his loved ones. Kashe died on the night of July 15, 2022, in a shooting on Clarence Street. (Submitted - image credit)
Submitted
Submitted

Victoria Wellington says she hasn't properly slept since Friday, the day her son died.

When the knock came in the early hours of Saturday morning, she thought it was her son, 36-year-old Vuyo Percy Kashe, returning home.

Instead, it was a police officer.

"He said, 'Ma'am, your son has passed on. He got shot on Clarence Street,'" Wellington recalled Sunday evening. "Then, I don't remember after that."

Ottawa Police Service officers found Kashe on the ground around 11:40 p.m. Friday, suffering from gunshot wounds. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Wellington says it's her understanding he was shot more than six times.

On Sunday, police announced they'd arrested Yohanna David Chol, 36, and charged him with second-degree murder.

Kashe's death marks the second fatal shooting in Ottawa this month.

S.B./Radio-Canada
S.B./Radio-Canada

'A very gentle young man'

For many years, the family had little to no contact with Kashe, Wellington said. She said her son struggled with homelessness and mental illness and had run-ins with the law.

But she likened her son to a knife: while many would focus on the sharp, dangerous side, she knew his blunter edge, describing him as respectful, quiet and loving.

"When he talks to me, he sits down on the floor, crosses his legs and listens to me. He never raised his voice to me, even when I said something he didn't like."

Beatrice Mushanga, a close family friend who attends the same Pentecostal church, called Kashe's death "frustrating and devastating."

"He was a very gentle young man. Very strong, hardworking," she said. "He didn't talk too much, but if he talked, he was funny."

A nearly decade-old newspaper article from the Saskatoon StarPhoenix tells of robberies Kashe committed at knifepoint in Saskatchewan, including at a hotel and payday-loan business.

Wellington said her son committed the robberies — acts she doesn't condone — to get off the streets. According to the newspaper, he apologized to one of the victims "even as he robbed her, and promised not to hurt her."

"[With] that clerk at that hotel, he did show his blunt side," Wellington said. "He apologized and told the clerk that 'I will never hurt you.'"

Bought him a food truck

Wellington also apologized, on behalf of her son, for anyone he may have hurt in the past.

She said she worked desperately to get her son away from the life he was living, but was unable to find him steady employment due to his criminal record.

Feeling failed by the system, Wellington said she tried to take matters into her own hands, paying $23,000 in cash for a food truck — plus an additional $10,000 to fix its hood — in late June in hopes her son could make a living with it.

"No more. He's not going to use that," she said. "All of the effort ... is in vain."

I do not want Vuyo's memory to fade away just like that. - Victoria Wellington, Vuyo Kashe's mother

Wellington said she knows the family of the man who allegedly killed her son, but she's not interested in speaking with him at this time.

She said whatever happened Friday between the two men was known by them alone.

"If he tells me why he killed my son, what difference will it make? Will that wake up my son? No."

Still, by sharing her son's story, Wellington hopes it might spare another family the pain she's going through.

"I do not want Vuyo's memory to fade away just like that," she said. "There may be another youth out there or [another] child who needs to get out [where] there's trouble."

"If I can tell my story and my son's story, maybe even if one youth ... can be saved, I'll be at peace."

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