Series of drug-fuelled gun crimes this week keeps Winnipeg police busy
Between the early morning hours of August 14 and the night of August 15 Winnipeg police responded to five separate incidents involving guns, each situation fuelled by drugs, officers said Friday morning during a media briefing on a series of firearm-related crimes.
“In each and every one of these incidents we believe that drugs were somehow underlying or the basis of the incidents,” said Winnipeg Police Service Const. Rob Carver. “And in every incident what started with drugs ended up with firearms.”
“We’ve got people who were robbed, people who were shot, guns were pointed at people.”
Carver said the incidents highlight the issues police are dealing with due to methamphetamine use.
“This is what we’re facing on a daily basis,” said Carver. “I think the point here is not the individual incidents but kind of an overview of what is happening in this city mostly fuelled by methamphetamine.”
Police said there’s no indication the incidents are linked with the exception of a corner store which was robbed on back-to-back nights.
It all started on August 14 at 1:15 in the morning with a robbery at grocery store in the city’s West Alexander neighbourhood. Officers said two women were involved and one pulled out a long gun, chasing customers out of the store while a second suspect stole various items from behind the counter. No one was hurt but police said the suspects took off.
Later that same day, around 11:20 p.m., a corner store in the Weston neighbourhood was robbed when police said a woman showed a handgun and got away with an undisclosed amount of money. The same store was robbed again the next night on August 15 at around 10:50 p.m. under similar circumstances. No one was hurt.
“Certainly we’re looking at the possibility that the woman who robbed it the first time may possibly be the same suspect,” said Carver.
Employees at Andy’s Corner Store on Logan Ave. confirmed two robberies occurred at the store but declined to be interviewed. A worker who was on shift both times robberies occurred said he’s doing fine and gave a statement to police
There was another firearm incident August 15 at around 10:20 p.m. Officers said a suspect who appeared to be under the influence of methamphetamine went into a restaurant in the Centennial neighbourhood with a loaded sawed-off shotgun. Police responded, disarmed the man and took him into custody.
Later that night in Fort Rouge officers said a 16-year-old boy was confronted by two suspects, one with a knife one with a firearm, and robbed. Police said two suspects fled in a vehicle but were located and arrested.
And early Thursday morning police said a man was shot in east Winnipeg and taken to hospital in critical condition. That incident remains under investigation.
Carver said firearm-related incidents have become the norm which is concerning to the police service from a police resources perspective and public safety point of view.
“This was a particular cluster that caught my eye yesterday,” said Carver. “I looked from August 1 to August 15, we’re averaging a little more than one a day of some sort of firearm-related incident.”
“Those drugs and the meth lead to people bringing guns and a level of violence that we haven’t seen and that the draw on police resources is enormous.”