A Canada-wide warrant has been issued in connection with a June murder in southwest Edmonton, and police say the suspect was previously convicted in a killing in Calgary.
Osama Ali, 21, was fatally shot in an alley in the area of Allard Boulevard SW and Arthurs Crescent SW in Edmonton around 6:30 p.m. on June 14.
Police have called his death a homicide.
On Thursday, police announced a warrant has been issued for Joseph Chlala, 22, for second-degree murder in Ali’s death.
“Chlala is known to have links to both Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta, and to Ottawa, Ontario, but may be residing anywhere in Canada. Nor can it be excluded that Chlala may have fled abroad,” Acting Staff Sgt. Jared Buhler of the Edmonton Police Service told reporters on Thursday.
Chlala is described as 5’5″ tall with a heavy build, brown hair and green eyes, and police said he should be considered armed and dangerous and should not be approached.
EPS has released a video of Chlala on the day of Ali’s murder in hopes of generating tips on his whereabouts, although Buhler confirmed Chlala’s actions in the video are not relevant to the killing.
In addition to the warrant issued in Ali’s death, Chlala pleaded guilty in January to manslaughter in the death of Christian Navos in Calgary in 2020.
The Calgary Police Service says Chlala did not show up for his sentencing hearing on March 16, and removed a tracking bracelet that was required as part of his bail conditions.
“The implication of our charge is that a convicted murderer committed another murder while on bail and I think it’s certainly a matter of concern for us,” Buhler said.
“It is extremely unusual in my experience for someone who’s already been convicted of murder to be released pre-sentencing. I can’t think of very many examples, if any at all in my own experience of that occurring.”
Chlala and Ali knew each other, Buhler said, and Ali was also known to the EPS.
“This murder occurred within a context of organized crime,” Buhler commented.
Buhler said neither of the men had any particular ties to the area where the shooting happened, but he understands it has been a traumatic event for residents.
“It has a deep impact of people’s perception of their own safety and their own community.”
GUN-RELATED HOMICIDES ON THE RISE
Edmonton has been averaging about 40 homicides per year in recent years, Buhler said, adding that 17 of the 27 homicides this year have involved guns.
“Over half of the homicides are now firearms related, so it just speaks to the volume of firearms that are on the street right now,” he said.
“Finding a gun on the street was an extremely rare occurrence 15 years ago. Today our members are dealing with guns all the time. They’re dealing with shootings on a semi-daily basis. It’s a different world than it was a short time ago.”
Without the hard work of doctors and advances in medical technology, Buhler said the death count would likely be much higher.
“If this was 1980, our numbers could easily be double what they are today. The work they do in the trauma rooms in Edmonton is nothing short of miraculous. So that’s really keeping a lid on things, to be quite honest.”
Anyone with information about Chlala’s whereabouts is asked to call the Edmonton Police Service at 780-423-4567, their local police department, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
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