Welcome to my Crime and Justice blog! I am a 19 year old criminal justice student at the University of Winnipeg. I advocate for prisoners' rights, human rights, equality and criminal justice/prison system reforms.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Two gang related attacks in Winnipeg west end, suspect arrested

WEST End residents are planning to take back their streets in a public march on Tuesday.
About 65 people gathered at the West End Cultural Centre Friday afternoon in a hastily organized meeting following two shootings on nearby Toronto Street and Victor Street this week.
"A child died and... three others were hit, (two) through windows," said Kate Sjoberg, Spence Neighbourhood Association executive director.
"These are extreme events and folks are worried about their safety."
She said residents of the West End are "very concerned" in light of recent incidents.
Sjoberg said she believes in social programming to help fight crime.
"I think we need to wake up and realize the crime-and-punishment approach is not the answer for what's going on," she said.
"We've been pushing for increased programming and increased programming hours at the Magnus Eliason Recreation Centre, and throughout the community for some time, and we haven't been able to get increased city support for this work."
Sjoberg pulled together the meeting Friday, which had about six to eight police officers present.
There were also community workers, like public health nurses and local school staff, to talk about safety. The march against violence will start at 6 p.m. on Tuesday at the Maryland Tot Lot, next to the Magnus Eliason Recreation Centre, and will proceed down Agnes, Toronto and Victor streets. Police arrested 34-year-old Greg Glen Hope this week in connection with the abduction and sexual assault of a six-year-old girl near the recreation centre.

WINNIPEG — Police have arrested a 19-year-old gang associate they say was involved with two West End shootings this week in which innocent bystanders and vehicles were struck by bullets.
Winnipeg Police Service Chief Keith McCaskill said the accused — whose name has not yet been released — was involved in shooting up a Victor Street home Wednesday evening. Two girls, aged 10 and 8, were injured. Police say they were not the intended targets.

The same man has being linked to shots that rang out on Agnes Street Tuesday moments after the fatal shooting of Kyle Earl, 16, and the wounding of his 13-year-old friend, Byron Cook, on Toronto Street. He allegedly chased after Earl's two killers — who have yet to be arrested — and fired several shots which struck two vehicles. Nobody was injured.
In reaction to the shootings, police announced Thursday there will be enhanced foot patrols and presence by the Street Crime Unit and Community Support Unit in the West End area.
"There were two innocent kids hurt in this," said McCaskill.
Police had said there was no connection between two incidents Thursday but then changed tack a day later. McCaskill said they received information Thursday that "shed a different light" on the shootings.
"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 McCaskill. "That person is off the street."
A 14-year-old boy was arrested on Thursday in connection with the Victor Street shooting. The Free Press has learned he was out on bail at the time for a previous shooting incident that happened outside a Winnipeg middle school. He is accused in that incident of shooting two students with an air gun.
Police believe the 14-year-old was with the 19-year-old at the time of the Victor Street shooting.
"We said it wasn't random, we didn't believe it was, but our information now is that the (19-year-old) person that is under arrest, we believe was shooting at another individual and that the bullets went through that window," said Chief Keith McCaskill.
McCaskill didn't say who the shooters were targeting when they ended up hitting the two girls. The oldest was struck in the leg with a bullet, while the youngest was grazed in the head with debris after three bullets pierced the window of the rental property at 542 Victor Street.
Another teenage boy lives at the property with the girls.
"It was a backdrop, almost," said McCaskill.
Police are continuing to search for the two men who gunned down Earl in what is believed to be a "targeted" attack. Both Earl and Cook had ties to the Indian Posse street gang.

Two teen boys were gunned down Tuesday in a brazen daylight shooting that left residents reeling after watching bullets fly on two West End streets.
One of the teens has died, according to justice sources.
As police hunt for the shooter, some justice officials fear the shocking afternoon attack could be the beginning of a major clash between Winnipeg's street gangs, an outbreak of violence police warned could happen this spring and summer.

According to sources, at about 2:50 p.m. on Tuesday, two boys aged 16 and 13 were sitting on the steps outside a peeling beige house at 646 Toronto St. when shots rang out. Bullets struck the older boy in the chest and the younger boy in the leg.
Minutes later and unaware of the Toronto shooting, residents on nearby Agnes Street watched in horror as the drama unfolded on their street.
One woman had just returned to her Agnes Street home from school, when she heard people yelling "stay away, there's shots fired." She looked out her bedroom window and watched as a man dashed onto Agnes from the back lane closest to Toronto Street, pointed a gun, and fired at least five shots at a black Dodge Neon.
"He was shooting at somebody," the resident said, describing the gunman as an aboriginal male in his mid-20s wearing a black hoodie.
Half an hour after the incident, before police reached the scene on Agnes, two piles of shell casings lay where they had been fired. Residents identified the shells as belonging to a .22-calibre gun.
Two shells lay on the ground near where the man emerged from between the houses and took aim before struggling with his gun briefly; residents say it appeared to jam. A short walk up the street, three more shells lay behind a tree where residents saw the shooter take cover while he fired at the car. After shooting, the man ran east between houses and into the back lane between Agnes and McGee Street.
By then, police had rushed to the shooting scene on Toronto. While television cameras rolled, police performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on the 16-year-old. Although police would only confirm the teen was sent to hospital in critical condition, a justice source told the Free Press he was dead on arrival. The younger boy was admitted to hospital in stable condition.
Police would confirm few details on Tuesday afternoon. "We have a lot of work to do," said Const. Jason Michalyshen, adding police did not yet have anyone in custody. "It's difficult for us to paint a picture of what has taken place."
An hour after the shooting, behind the ribbons of yellow police-tape that circled the block, police huddled near the porch of the Toronto Street house, gingerly stepping over a bicycle lying across the home's front yard. Neighbours said they did not know who the boys were, adding "new people are coming in and out of there all the time."
Some of them, apparently, not so savoury: The slain teen had ties to the Indian Posse street gang, a justice source told the Free Press, and police are bracing against the threat of retaliation. The Indian Posse has beefs with a number of other street gangs, including its rivals in the Native Syndicate and the Manitoba Warriors.
Earlier this year, a veteran police officer wrote a gang showdown in Winnipeg was "imminent," after the capture of all Zig Zag Crew gang members and most of the Hells Angels left a gaping void in control of the city's drug market. In documents written to obtain a search warrant in February, the officer said the winter's relative calm would likely be broken as gangs agitated to take out their rivals "by any means necessary."

WINNIPEG - A shooting that killed a teenaged boy in the city's West End neighbourhood Tuesday afternoon was possibly a targeted, gang-related attack, Winnipeg police said today.
Const. Jason Michalyshen said two suspects arrived at a Toronto Street residence just before 3 p.m. Tuesday, then shot at the two boys, aged 13 and 16.  
The older boy suffered gun shot wounds to his upper and lower body. He was taken to hospital in critical condition and died from his injuries, Michalyshen said. The 13-year-old boy was hit in the lower body,' he was treated in hospital and released.
"This is not a random act," Michalyshen said during a news conference from the Public Safety Building this afternoon. "These individuals were targeted."
A second shooting happened when an associate of the two boys followed their attackers and eventually discharged a firearm in the 600 block of Agnes Street, two blocks to the east of where the initial attack occurred, police said. Two vehicles were struck; they were unrelated to the first shooting and no one was injured.
No arrests have been made.
The two boys who were shot were friends, and they were previously known to police, Michalyshen said. "Both individuals have had police involvement in the past," he said. "We’ve had contact with them in the past."
Michalyshen would not say if the boys had gang ties, but he said the shooting was being investigated as possibly gang-related.  A justice source told the Free Press the slain teen had ties to the Indian Posse street gang, and police were bracing against the threat of retaliation.

Michalyshen said that given the shootings occurred in the middle of the afternoon, police believe it’s fortunate that innocent bystanders were not injured.
Police presence in high-crime areas can be increased, Michalyshen said but added that police cannot put officers on every street corner for every hour of the day.
"No community in this city deserves to be subject to this kind (of violence)," Michalyshen said.

Gangs are imminent in the west end and inner cities, and locking them up in prison, will not stop the gang violence, as often individuals become more entrenched in the gang and drug lifestyle in prisons as pro criminal attitudes and behaviours are prevalent in the negative prison environment surrounded by negative influences and role models. 

In order to help prevent and reduce gang crimes, we need to develop and establish more gang prevention programs. We need programs that offer tutoring and positive role models and mentors to at-risk youth in the inner cities, and programs that teach life skills, stress management, responsibility and how to deal and cope with life challenges and family violence. There needs to be more recreational facilities and opportunities, family violence counseling programs, risk management programs, substance abuse programs, employment assistance and resources for youth, mental health services and resources, etc. We need to focus on reducing poverty, revitalizing the inner cities, and reducing unemployment, family violence and dysfunction and neglect/abuse. All of this, will in turn, help to reduce crime.  

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