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Man charged in death of Scarborough father previously lived in same apartment building


Toronto police have charged 37-year-old Devret Clarke with one count of first-degree murder in the death of a Scarborough father, and residents tell CTV News Toronto they used to live in the same apartment building.

Thirty-four-year-old Gars-Ara Kourjakian was shot and killed in an underground parkade on Dec. 30, at around 5:30 p.m. Family friends say he was taking off his five-year-old daughter's winter boots when it happened.

"I was shocked when I heard what happened. Really, he didn't deserve this," said Sarkis Yildirim. He knows the Kourjakian family well, and told CTV News Toronto Clarke lived in the unit next door.

"He was very rude with everybody in the building," said Yildirim. "He didn't like anybody in the building."

Clarke appeared in a Toronto courtroom Friday morning via video from a Toronto police station. He was wearing a red and white t-shirt, and sat quietly while listening to the proceedings.

Yildirim also remembers an argument between Kourjakian and Clarke sometime before he moved out. He said Kourjakian's wife and daughter were in their apartment that was just above Clarke's, and he could hear them.

"I guess he couldn't take the noises, and he was knocking on the door very hard. Gars' wife opened the door, he start screaming and swearing, and she got really scared," he explained. "When the husband came home, he find out, and I guess he went down, and they were arguing. I remember that."

CTV News Toronto spoke with Clarke's lawyer, but he declined to comment at this time. Yildirim said Clarke moved out about a year and a half ago.

Online, Clarke has a website where he describes himself as an author. He also has an active YouTube page.

"It sickens you, right? Because then it's like, how safe are you really?" said Rahim Ladhajuma, who also lives in the building, and is a close friend of Kourjakian and his family.

"There was a bunch of red flags right that aggression, the odd behaviour from him that we've seen," he said.

Ladhajuma said he had a run-in with Clarke when he didn't know him. He explained he was on the phone with a friend when he noticed Clarke was looking at him.

"He says, ‘Are you talking about me, are you talking about me?’" explained Ladhajuma. "I said, ‘Excuse me?’ I got defensive, I was like, ‘What the f*** are you talking about? I don't know you.’"

He said he eventually showed Clarke his phone to assure him. "He was in my face, he was aggressive, he was being intimidating, but I stood my ground there."

CTV News Toronto reached out to the apartment building management company, but did not hear back in time for publication.

"[Kourjakian] was a friendly guy, and that's how I remember him," said Ladhajuma. "I don't see why anybody would want to target such an individual."

Yildirim told CTV News Toronto Kourjakian was a very good neighbour and had lengthy visits with his father.

"I know him very good because we speak [the] same language, and every time the guy cook something, he used to bring some to me," Yildirim said.

Clarke is due back in court on Jan. 20. Top Stories

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