Saturday, May 29, 2010
Suspect in two Winnipeg west end shootings, has fatal gun history
A 19-year-old gang member accused of two West End shootings this week was also involved in the fatal shooting of a 13-year-old boy in February 2008.
In the earlier shooting, the Indian Posse member, who was 17 years old at the time, broke into a Home Street garage with 13-year-old Cody Shuya. After the two fought over a loaded pellet gun left there, the gun fired and shot Shuya's eye, fatally damaging his brain. The 17-year-old pleaded guilty in 2008 to careless use of a firearm.
Now 19, the man is facing new Criminal Code charges arising from two separate shootings this week.
"One of the very important things for the public to understand in the West End (is that) we have taken the person off the street that shot, and shot again," said Winnipeg Police Service Chief Keith McCaskill. "That person is off the street."
The Free Press is not identifying the man because the Youth Criminal Justice Act forbids identifying a person when their criminal record as a youth is reported.
He's charged in connection with the aftermath of a shooting this week that killed a 16-year-old boy and a shooting that hurt three other children. Police said for the first time Friday the two incidents are related.
On Tuesday afternoon, two gunmen firing at least 15 bullets hit Kyle Earl, 16, and Byron Cook, 13, as they sat on a porch at 646 Toronto St. Earl died and Cook was injured.
The 19-year-old, who was apparently nearby, allegedly ran on foot after Earl's two killers -- who have yet to be arrested -- and fired several shots that struck two vehicles. The vehicles were apparently not involved in the shooting and no occupants were injured, police said. The 19-year-old is now charged with attempted murder for firing at the vehicles, say police.
Just over 24 hours later, on Wednesday evening, three shots were fired into the front window of 542 Victor St. A 10-year-old girl was hit in the leg and an eight-year-old girl was grazed in the head by flying debris. Police say the girls were not the intended targets. The 19-year-old is now charged with attempted murder for firing at the house.
"Thank God these kids weren't killed. That could easily have happened," said McCaskill.
During the two shootings this week, the 19-year-old man was out on bail for a previous break-and-enter. He's also been convicted several times for breaching his sentence in relation to Shuya's death and was under a court-ordered weapons ban.
Police arrested a 14-year-old boy Thursday who was alleged to have been with the 19-year-old during the Victor Street shooting.
The tall, angular 19-year-old appeared briefly in court Friday. He is connected to West End gangs and has posted online messages praising gang life.
Also Friday, the provincial Conservatives said the NDP needs to make good on a promise to fund 130 new police officers in light of the deadly week of gun violence on the streets of Winnipeg.
The NDP promised during the 2007 election campaign to increase the number of police officers in Manitoba by 100, including 50 in Winnipeg. A couple of years ago, Ottawa sent Manitoba a $14.4-million cheque to add 15 city officers and the same number outside of Winnipeg.
Tory Leader Hugh McFadyen said so far, the government has delivered only 64 new officers -- 66 less than promised.
"We're calling on the NDP to move forward and keep their promise to hire the 130 additional officers in order to restore a sense of safety in our communities," McFadyen told reporters Friday.
"Broken promises aren't keeping our streets safe," he said. "We need those new officers now."
Premier Greg Selinger defended the government's record Friday, saying the province is funding an additional 13 city officers this year plus the operating costs of a new police helicopter, which is expected to take to the sky several months from now. As well, it has announced funding for 30 police cadets, who will free regular officers from some of their more mundane tasks.
It's horrible what happens when teens join gangs, but with all the negative role models, influences and environment of the west end and inner cities, plagued with poverty, unemployment, addictions and crime, I understand why they join gangs. They want to feel a sense of belonging and identity, possibly from a lack of attention or interaction from family members. These teens are surrounded by negative peer influences and they have no morals or values. If we want to prevent and reduce gang crimes, we need to address the issues of why teens join gangs and the root causes. We need to develop more gang prevention and desistance programs for these teens to receive help and assistance.
This teen involved in these recent Winnipeg shooting, is clearly, entrenched and very involved in the gang lifestyle and activities. I believe he definitely poses a danger to society and should not be granted bail. He is one of the few people, that I would support being held in custody while awaiting his trial. I do feel though, that remand facilities should offer rehabilitation programs so alleged criminals have the opportunity to improve themselves and be productive while awaiting trial and sentencing.