It’s a 'big relief' arrests made in Lawrence death: Berwick residents

Kathryn Brewster
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Cecilia Salsman, left, and Janet Bennett wait in Berwick’s new bus shelter, which was recently replaced on the site of the original shelter. The two women say they are pleased that arrests have been made in Harley Lawrence’s death. – Kathryn Brewster,

The atmosphere in Berwick was one of relief as the news spread that two arrests had been made in connection with the death of Harley Lawrence.

Read more on the arrests here. 

Lawrence, a homeless man, died in a bus shelter fire in October, an event that had been ruled as suspicious and had left the community rattled.

“It’ll be a big relief to a lot of people because the streets of Berwick are not the same at night since it happened,” says Stanley Viner.

He had learned the news early in the day, and had made his way to the local Tim Hortons in the hopes that he might pick up some additional information. Viner says that since Lawrence’s death, the streets after dark have been “like a ghost town.”  

Janet Bennett and Cecilia Salsman heard the news on the radio. Both women were surprised, but pleased, to learn that arrests had been made.

“He didn’t bother nobody; he was kind,” said Bennett as she waited in the town’s new bus shelter, recently put in place at the site of the old shelter destroyed in the fire. Bennett had previously worked with Lawrence’s brother and, like many residents in the community, had seen Lawrence on Commercial Street on multiple occasions.

Although months have passed since Lawrence’s death, residents of Berwick had not forgotten it – nor had they stopped wondering when closure would be found.

“We were talking about (Lawrence) the other day,” said Bev Hazelwood. “We used to give him money just about every time we came in (to Tim Hortons).”

Hazelwood had not heard that the arrests had been made, but was pleased by the news.

“We were wondering when they’d get around to finding out (who did it),” said Salsman. 

Organizations: Tim Hortons

Geographic location: Berwick, Commercial Street

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