Osborne Village shop latest to be hit in gang battle
An Osborne Village tattoo shop was hit by a firebombing Wednesday, marking the latest in a series of gang-related incidents to hit homes or businesses since the middle of June.
Officers were called to 187 Ink on Osborne Street around 4:30 a.m. Wednesday morning.
Suspects were caught throwing a Molotov cocktail. The front of the business was damaged.
A 34-year-old male and a 24-year-old male were taken into police custody and face charges. CTV News has learned the men arrested have ties to the Rock Machine, with at least one a full-patch member of their support crew, the Vendettas. It's believed both men were inside a home that was shot at in previous weeks.
Members of the Rock Machine and the Hells Angels' Redlined Support Crew have been feuding in Winnipeg for weeks.
Sources said the tattoo shop hit Wednesday is linked to the Hells Angels. But the shop's owner, Wayne Nuytten, insists he's simply a businessman, who from time to time, tattoos a few bikers.
"So many people come in that door - if they are gang members or police or businessmen or camera guys, anyone (that) wants to get tattooed, we tattoo them," said Nuytten.
Police said they have responded to 13 gang-related incidents since June 14.
"I don't think it's a secret - gangs are about money. It's about drugs and they are trying to get a foothold on our communities," said Const. Jason Michalyshen, a spokesperson for Winnipeg police.
Locations that police have been called to in the gang battle include the 1800 block of Logan Avenue, the 100 block of Mighton Avenue, the 1500 block of Roy Avenue, the 200 block of Royal Avenue, the 100 block of Stranmillis Avenue and the 100 block of Taft Crescent.
A 14-year-old boy inside a residence was hit by gunfire after bullets struck a home on Taft last week.
Officers have arrested 15 gang members, from both sides of the conflict, for crimes unrelated to the 13 incidents, aside from the Osborne one. Police admit their work is far from finished.
"If we had a magic wand where we could stop this, we would," said Michalyshen.
Biker expert and author Yves Lavigne believes the gang feud could escalate.
"Unless these people are stopped, people will die. There will be innocent bystanders," he said.
Officers from multiple police units continue to investigate the gang-related incidents.
- with a report from CTV's Stacey Ashley