Murder of Jonathan Zak: Looking for answers three years later

London, ON, Canada / 106.9 The X

The murder of Johnathan Zak is still unsolved three years after a person or persons shot him in Northeast Park.

Jonathan’s Mother, Jean Zak, stands behind the bench in Northeast Park dedicated in his honour.

It was on Thursday, May 31, 2012 around 1:26 AM when police responded to reports of gunshots in the area of Boullee Street and Victoria Street. After officers interviewed people and searched the area, no evidence of a shooting was discovered at that time.

Then at 7: 00 AM the same morning, Police received a 911 call indicating that there was a male in medical distress near a pathway in Northeast Park. They responded with EMS services. Jonathan Zak was located with an apparent gunshot wound and vital signs absent. He was transported to hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Police walked up to his mother’s home, Jean Zak says she knew right when she saw the police walking closer, it was not good.

“It was really hard to comprehend that he was killed that way.”

She says she has trouble sleeping around this time of year.

“Getting up and getting out of bed in the mornings. My body knows it’s coming to the time and I’m feeling kind of down.”

She says nothing feels the same since the day he died.

“I try to stay positive, have a positive outlook and be happy. It’s hard to happy when I lost my joy. That’s what I’ve lost. I lost the joy in my life since he’s not around anymore.”

Jonathan Zak. Photo from London Police

Detective Sergeant of the Major Crimes Unit at London Police, Paul Bastien, says this case is still open.

“We did follow a number of leads in the early going. We do continue to follow up on any leads if we become aware of them. As time goes on perhaps the leads diminish in volume. It’s still very much an open case though. We’re hopeful that when leads come in, we can pursue them in context of what we know so far at this point and solve the case.”

Police say Jonathan walked through green space when he was confronted by one or more individuals who are responsible for his death. They also say it’s known that there are several people who live in the area where this murder occurred who have vital information that could help solve this murder. Police say he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Detective Sergeant Bastien understands it’s hard to come forward with information.

“It’s so important to come forward and I know it’s difficult. When charges are laid, there’s a court process that’s followed. We are prepared to help people who come forward who have information.”

London Police have a $25,000 reward for any information that leads to the arrest or arrests of the person or persons responsible for Jonathan’s killing.

Jean says she understands why people wouldn’t want to come forward.

“If it is gang related it’s likely they would threaten. I wouldn’t want anyone else to be hurt trying to put them in jail. If the killer has a conscious then they’re suffering. They could have become a better person, that would be good. Even though it wasn’t good for me or Jonathan.”

She feels it might even be better to not go to court.

“I kind of dread them finding somebody and taking them to court. I think that would be very hard. In a way, it’s easier not to know who to put the blame on, no face to hate. It doesn’t do me good anyway. It’s not going to bring him back.”

She says if Jonathan’s killer or killers are still out there hurting people, then she wants to make sure they are caught.

Two years after his death, a special dedication took place. A bench was placed in Northeast Park in memory of Jonathan.

Jean says this bench has a lot of meaning and comforts her.

Jean says it fits him so well because it’s a place where you can sit down and talk. She says he loved to help anyone in anyway he could. She says the bench comforts her.

“Even just to visualize. I don’t come as much as I would like to sometimes. When I decide to come, it’s usually raining or snowing. Just thinking about it at home while looking pictures of him. It’s nice to know somebody is using it.”

She says she knows that Jonathan is around her in spirit, hearing the way he went down the stairs in her home and the smell of smoke coming from his cigarettes. She knows he listens to her and she wants to let him know she has nothing but thanks for him.

“Thank you for being my son. Thanks for allowing me to get to know you and sharing your life with me. You taught me a lot of things I didn’t know.”

If you have any information on Jonathan’s murder, you can call Detective Gary Bezaire at 519-933-0397 or majorcrime@police.london.ca, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or www.londoncrimestoppers.com.

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