Police confirm London's latest homicide victim a former National Patriotic Front Liberia member
LONDON, ONT. -- We are now learning more about London's second homicide victim of 2020 and his past as a warlord in west Africa.
Throughout the 1990s Liberian refugees dispersed throughout the world to escape civil unrest.
Some of those were innocent civilians, others were soldiers who committed heinous acts.
"In the Liberian community we aren't surprised to see people who participated in the war," says Leo Johnson, president of the Liberian Association of Canada (LAC).
"As a community we are still struggling because people who bear the greatest responsibilities for the civil war are still walking around, the leaders, the rebel leaders, only one person is in prison."
Former Liberia President Charles Taylor is serving a 50-year sentence for planning some of the most brutal crimes in human history.
Gen. Bill Horace, the man killed in London Sunday was one of his rebel commanders.
Late Tuesday night, London police confirmed that the victim was the same Bill Horace of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia.
Police say Horrace’s connection with the organiztion is not the primary focus of the investigation.
American author Jonny Dwyer wrote about Taylor and Horace in his book American Warlord.
"He was known particularly for hanging people on crosses during the Liberian civil war," says Dwyer.
"That was one of the things when you mentioned the name Bill Horace, that was something people remembered him by."
Police have not released a motive for the homicide, but sources connected to Horace tell CTV news that he was most likely killed for criminal money activity in Canada, not for his connection to the war more than 25-years ago.
FrontPageAfrica reported that Horace was undergoing investigation for possible deportation to Liberia prior to his death.
Journalist and historian Michael Petrou wrote about Horace for Mclean's magazine in 2012. He says his application for permanent residency had not yet been decided when he died.
"Through a variety of legal processes he's been able to stay here for almost 20 years," says Petrou.
"He's been here for over a decade since the allegations of war crimes were on the public record."
LAC met Monday night to discuss how to support those affected by Horace's death including his wife and children.
Johnson didn't personally know Horace, but says the Liberian civil war can be complicated.
"If I deduct 25 years from Bill's age he may have been a teenager in Liberia," says Johnson.
"We have 200,000 former child soldiers in the country. That is not to excuse anyone's crimes, but we're very concisions in the community because some people who committed atrocities during war were victims who were recruited and turned into killing machines."
London police are still searching for the suspects wanted in Sunday's homicide. They say the death was a targeted event.