Violent holidays for Winnipeg police; 1st 2019 homicide six hours into new year
WINNIPEG — A homicide just six hours into the new year was among a significant number of serious calls that kept police in Winnipeg busy over the holiday season.
A police spokesman says a man was shot in the city’s Elmwood neighbourhood around 6 a.m. on New Year’s Day.
No further details are available.
Const. Rob Carver says police received just under 11,000 calls for service between Dec. 24 and Jan. 1.
He says a significant amount involved violence and the highly addictive drug methamphetamine played a role in a number of them.
Carver says most were domestic in nature or involved police checking on someone’s well-being.
“I know from officers’ comments throughout the period that meth is still a significant force in the city during that period and was an element in a number of those calls,” Carver said at a police news conference Wednesday.
“Unless the individual says ‘I was taking meth’ or we find meth on them, we don’t necessarily do blood tests.”
Police Chief Danny Smyth has said there’s a meth crisis in Winnipeg and says officers seized more than 20 kilograms of meth in 2018 — nearly double what they took in the previous year.
Another $2,000 in meth and $1,100 in cash were seized when three people were arrested over the holidays.
On New Year’s Eve, officers were called after a drunk man threw a table out of a seven-storey window and caused $10,000 in damage to a hotel suite.
Police were also called to a downtown bar because people were fighting, had weapons and the crowd was unruly.
“We had a crowd that, according to the officers’ report, was overly intoxicated and not co-operating,” Carver said.
At one point, he said, the officers were surrounded by bar patrons and assaulted before police ordered the bar to be closed.
Officers were also called to a break-in at a house in which two children were home alone. Carver said a man went to the home in the Shaughnessy Park neighbourhood and tried to disable the security camera before ringing the doorbell. When the 12-year-old boy in the house saw the man, he ran upstairs to a room with his 10-year-old sister, locked the door and called police.
The man eventually broke in and was banging on the children’s door before police arrived and he was arrested.
“I know it was traumatic for them,” Carver said of the children.
While the public may be concerned that there was another homicide only a few hours into the new year, Carver said the date is arbitrary for police.
“It’s six o’clock in the morning on a frigid day. Someone’s been shot and killed. A family is traumatized. We have somebody dead and we have officers fighting through everything else that’s going on to make sure we are keeping that scene secured and we investigate properly,” he said.
“It’s just another tragedy in the city.”
There were 22 homicides in Winnipeg in 2018, the last one on Christmas Day.
- Kelly Geraldine Malone
News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc., 2019
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