Fatal stabbing at housing complex leads to calls for change
Community members and outreach workers are hoping positive changes come to a housing complex that has seen a range of violence in recent years.
On Sunday, 34-year-old Ricky Lathlin, a father of two, was attacked at a suite in Gilbert Park by a group of suspects who allegedly sliced Lathlin's thigh with a cleaver. Lathlin bled out and died from the incident.
"He was my best friend. He was so proud of me," said his sister Ashley Lathlin.
The complex has seen a number of brutal incidents in recent years. In 2006, a 14-year-old boy was rescued from a shed after a group of kids pushed him inside and set it on fire.
In September 2009, a one-year-old girl was taken from a home in Gilbert Park and was beaten by a suspect, while a week later an eight-month-old boy was allegedly struck with a golf club by his father.
Following the incidents last September, the province increased security with guards patrolling the area, but many in the community said it isn't enough. Currently, the province is installing 64 security cameras in the area, along with swipe cards and extra lighting.
In 2006, the province also introduced a zero tolerance eviction policy for community housing.
"When we get complaints and concerns about tenants, we're acting immediately. We know our eviction rates have increased," said Kerri Irvin-Ross, minister of housing and community development.
Since 2006, about 500 tenants have been evicted from housing across Manitoba, but officials said they did not have a break-down ready of how many were kicked out of Gilbert Park.
Irvin-Ross said staff will evaluate security and what role it played in the incident Sunday morning to see if any changes can be made.
Outreach workers said problems related to drugs, alcohol and gangs affect areas around the city and not just at Gilbert Park.
"The gang issue needs to be addressed and we need a strategy that's not just about law enforcement coming in and suppressing gang activity. We need to look at other things like economic development opportunities and other social and educational opportunities for children and youth," said Lisa Janke from the Nor' West Co-op Community Health Centre.
Albert Lathlin, Ricky Lathlin's uncle, hopes his nephew's death is a catalyst for change.
"We've been crying out for programs. They have a bit, but not enough," said Albert.
Police continue to look for suspects in the death of Ricky Lathlin.
Anyone with information is asked to contact investigators at 986-6508, or Crime Stoppers at 786-8477.
- with a report from CTV's Stacey Ashley