'Great guy': Family identifies homicide victim as police continue to look for witnesses
Published Saturday, March 16, 2019 10:40AM CST
Last Updated Sunday, March 17, 2019 5:43PM CST
Winnipeg police are investigating the city’s ninth homicide of 2019.
It happened near the corner of Selkirk Ave. and Salter St.
Const. Rob Carver said paramedics and police responded to the report of a man assaulted with serious injuries around 2:40 a.m.
He was transported to hospital in unstable condition and later succumbed to his injuries.
Carver said the man had upper body injuries and the nature of the injuries suggests a weapon was used, but it was too early to provide any more details.
Family members have identified the victim as 38-year-old John Gabriel.
Salter St. between Stella Ave. and Selkirk was blocked to traffic for hours Saturday.
At 3:30 p.m. Winnipeg Transit tweeted a detour for the area had ended.
Several businesses in the area closed temporarily while police investigated.
Members of the forensics unit were observed looking at evidence near a bus shelter on Salter.
Evidence markers had been placed by what appeared to be blood in the middle of the intersection at Selkirk and Salter.
Carver said he couldn’t comment on whether any suspects have been identified.
He said so far the investigation is not pointing to a random attack and it’s too soon to say if meth played a role.
Investigators believe a number of people were in the area at the time of the assault and may be able to provide critical information.
“We believe the assault would have started and taken place near the intersection of Salter Street and Selkirk Avenue. The victim after being was assaulted was able to make his way south to Stella, where he collapsed,” Carver said.
“People called because he was in desperate need of attention.”
Carver said the victim has had some contact with police.
Police said Sunday no one is in custody and are asking anyone with information to contact them.
FAMILY IDENTIFIES VICTIM AS JOHN GABRIEL
Family members tell CTV News they are shocked and feeling numb learning 38-year-old John Gabriel was killed early Saturday.
“John was a great guy. He helped me when my parents passed. He was there for me,” said his wife Vanessa Kennedy-Gabriel in a phone call with CTV News.
Kennedy-Gabriel said they had been married for close to seven years. She described him as a loving stepfather.
“John is the type of guy who would take the shirt off his back to help you,” she said crying.
Kennedy-Gabriel said before the assault the couple had an argument. He told her he was going to stay at a place he rented out. Normally he slept at their family home in The Maples. She said the conversation was the last she heard from him.
She said the 38-year-old was bettering himself and had gone back to school to get his grade 12 education and worked at temp agencies. She said since they had been married his life changed and he was settling down.
Kennedy-Gabriel said detectives came to her door Saturday morning to tell her John had passed away.
She hopes surveillance video is able to lead police to whoever assaulted her husband.
“They [police] told me they’re looking. Nothing yet.”