Two recent homicides believed to be gang-related: Winnipeg police
WINNIPEG -- Police have identified Rig Debak Moulebou, 20, as Winnipeg’s 40th homicide victim of 2019.
He was found dead on Monday night at a townhouse in South Pointe with an apparent gunshot wound. Investigators believe his death is gang-related.
Moulebou’s being remembered as a high school football star who played for the Daniel McIntyre Maroons.
In a tweet, his former team said: “Our hearts are saddened to hear the tragic passing of our alumni Rig Moulebou. Rig was team MVP, captain and league defensive player of the year during our undefeated championship year in 2017. All of us Maroons have heavy hearts. Rest in Peace #35.”
Police also said Wednesday they believe the death of Jamshaid Wahabi, 23 — who was shot early Saturday at a nightclub in the Exchange District — is gang-related.
Filmmaker Jim Agapito got to know Wahabi through an after-school program to help newly-arrived refugee and immigrant youth stay away from gang activity.
Agapito said he was shocked to hear what happened.
"He was a little shy and he was kind of a tough kid but the thing about him was he always wanted to participate and I think out of all the kids he was always there,” said Agapito. "Over the last three years he's been turning it around, working construction. I was really sad because you spend time with kids like this, he's an adult now, but you spend time with them and you're sad because you're like, ‘here's a guy that you're rooting for.’"
Officers have previously said gang violence is only one factor that has Winnipeg closing in on a record it doesn't want to break.
40 homicides in a single so far is only one shy of the all-time record from 2011. Police have said in addition to gangs, domestic abuse and random violence have also contributed to this year’s high number of homicides.
Anti-gang activist Mitch Bourbonniere said said gang activity is no worse now than it was before this year.
"I believe the gang situation is pretty static, in terms of activity, numbers,” said Bourbonniere. “It's there and it's always going to be there."
Bourbonniere said more resources are always needed to help stop youth from getting involved in gangs which he said can happen for any number of reasons.
“Trauma, disenfranchisement, lack of hope, lack of prospects, not believing that they can fit in to regular society,” he said.
Police said investigations into both Wahabi and Moulebou’s deaths are in their early stages.
When asked if there’s any link between the two homicides officers said they can’t exclude a link but can’t elaborate any more at this time.