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Halifax police seek witness in Christmas Eve homicide of Ryan Michael Sawyer

Click to play video: 'Global News Morning Halifax: January 25'
Global News Morning Halifax: January 25
The online edition of Global News Morning with Paul Brothers and Amber Fryday on Global Halifax – Jan 25, 2023

Halifax Regional Police are asking the public to help identify a potential witness in the death of Ryan Michael Sawyer, who was found unresponsive near the Halifax Alehouse last month.

Police have previously said that officers responded to a report of a “disturbance involving several people” in the 1700 block of Brunswick Street around 1:15 a.m. on Dec. 24.

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Sawyer, who was from Ajax, Ont., was found unresponsive on the sidewalk of Prince Street, just east of Brunswick Street. The 31-year-old was transported to hospital, where he later died.

Police confirmed the death was a homicide, but have said little else about the incident. A person was taken into custody the day Sawyer died, but was later released.

On Wednesday, Halifax Regional Police released an image of a man who was in the area at the time of the incident “and may have information that could assist the investigation.”

Halifax Regional Police are searching for a witness in relation to the death of Ryan Michael Sawyer.
Halifax Regional Police are searching for a witness in relation to the death of Ryan Michael Sawyer. Halifax Regional Police

In a release, police said the witness is not a suspect in Sawyer’s death and investigators are not seeking additional suspects at this time.

The man police are looking to speak with is described as Black, in his 20s or 30s, and tall with a thin build. At the time, he was wearing a black coat and a black shirt with a gold symbol.

Halifax Regional Police is asking the potential witness or anyone with information on his identity to contact police at 902-490-5020.

According to Sawyer’s obituary, he was born in Pickering, Ont., and attended Kings Edgehill School and Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia before moving back to Ontario.

Ryan Michael Sawyer, 31, was found unresponsive outside the Halifax Alehouse in the early morning hours of Dec. 24, 2022. He later died in hospital.
Ryan Michael Sawyer, 31, was found unresponsive outside the Halifax Alehouse in the early morning hours of Dec. 24, 2022. He later died in hospital. DignityMemorial.com

It said he worked for almost seven years as a vehicle planning supervisor for Nissan Canada in Mississauga and “took great pride” in his job.

The obituary said he loved dogs and the Toronto Maple Leafs. He is survived by his twin brother and parents.

A memorial service was held for Sawyer in Halifax on Jan. 6, and a celebration of life is scheduled Wednesday afternoon at the Ajax Convention Centre.

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