Halifax police trying to identify potential witness in Christmas Eve homicide

Halifax police found Ryan Sawyer unresponsive after being called to an assault outside of the Halifax Alehouse bar on Brunswick Street in the early hours of Dec. 24. (Dignity Memorial - image credit)
Halifax police found Ryan Sawyer unresponsive after being called to an assault outside of the Halifax Alehouse bar on Brunswick Street in the early hours of Dec. 24. (Dignity Memorial - image credit)

Halifax Regional Police are asking for help identifying a potential witness in the death of a man in downtown Halifax last month.

Ryan Sawyer's death was declared a homicide after police were called to an assault outside of the Halifax Alehouse bar on Brunswick Street in the early hours of Dec. 24.

Police are now looking for a man who is described as Black, tall with a thin build and in his 20s to 30s. He was wearing a black coat and a black shirt with a gold symbol at the time.

"We have him as a potential witness because he may have information that can [prove] helpful in moving this investigation forward," Const. John MacLeod said in an interview Wednesday.

Halifax Regional Police
Halifax Regional Police

"Given the seriousness nature of the incident, it's important that ... we do everything we can."

Halifax police said the potential witness is not a suspect in the death of Sawyer and investigators are not seeking additional suspects at this time.

MacLeod says officers have tried to locate the potential witness, but are now turning to the public for help.

Officers found Sawyer unresponsive on the sidewalk outside the bar before he was taken to hospital, where he died of his injuries. Police took a man into custody, but he was later released without charges.

Sawyer's obituary says he was born in Markham, Ont., and grew up in Pickering, Ont., and attended high school in Windsor, N.S.

He later studied business management at Dalhousie University before moving back to Ontario, where he worked with Nissan Canada in Mississauga, Ont.

A memorial service was held for Sawyer in Halifax earlier this month. A celebration of life is being held in Ajax, Ont., on Wednesday.

Police are asking the potential witness or anyone with information on his identity to call police at 902-490-5020.

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