Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Gangs behind latest killings-- slayings of two young men was not random
Winnipeg's two most recent slayings were likely street gang shootings, and though they are apparently not linked, they are also not the random violence they first appeared to be.
Darren Walsh, 24, was gunned down on July 4 while standing at a Main Street bus stop in the middle of the afternoon. Police charged Jheruel Mananghaya with second-degree murder. He allegedly stepped off a bus, crossed the street and opened fire with a long gun -- a rifle or shotgun.
Sources told the Free Press Monday Walsh's killer is thought to have hidden his weapon in a weed whacker box while riding on the bus. As well, Mananghaya is believed to be an associate of the Redlined Crew, an upstart gang that has ties to the Hells Angels and was recently flagged by police in court documents.
"He's been spotted in the company of several Redlined members," a police source said. Police initially said the killing may have been a random attack but later revealed Walsh and Mananghaya had previously worked together at a local mattress factory. No motive for the incident has been made public.
"This was likely a targeted attack on the victim," the source said.
Dylan Ferland, 18, was shot dead July 8 while standing outside a McKenzie Street home he was visiting. Police have made no arrests but are appealing for potential witnesses to come forward. Ferland was a known associate of the Native Syndicate street gang. His older brother is a full-fledged member who is currently in prison.
"This was very likely a territorial and/or rival gang dispute," the source said Monday.
The homicides -- numbers nine and 10 of the year -- come on the heels of another brazen gang-related killing that happened in May and remains unsolved. Kyle Earl, 14, was gunned down while sitting on the front steps of a Toronto Street home in the late afternoon. He had ties to the Indian Posse street gang.
Police anticipated a long summer of gang violence, in court documents the Free Press obtained earlier this year. They cited the recent collapse of the Hells Angels as creating a toxic environment on the streets.
"Tensions are extremely high... violence is imminent," a veteran Winnipeg police officer wrote in a February affidavit.
Police singled out as cause for concern the same Redlined Support Crew gang to which Mananghaya has been linked.
Police said the Hells Angels created the group to stand up to other criminal networks that might try to muscle in on their drug turf. Redlined members were stockpiling weapons and were preparing to take out rivals "by any means necessary," police added.
The court document was used last month to obtain a search warrant for the East Kildonan home of a man linked to the Redlined gang in which a loaded handgun was found hidden in the backyard.
Police said the group made their first big impression in mid-January when they allegedly lured a member of another new local gang, the Rock Machine, to an auto-repair shop on St. Mary's Road that has connections to the Hells Angels.
"He was attacked by several members of the Redlined Support Crew and suffered a vicious beating. Two members of the Hells Angels were also present," police wrote. The victim was rushed to hospital and required emergency surgery. He has not been co-operative with police and so far no charges have been laid.
Police said the Redlined and Rock Machine gangs were trying to fill the vacuum created by an undercover sting operation dubbed Project Divide that ended last December. Police used a career criminal-turned secret agent to infiltrate the Hells Angels, resulting in the arrests of 34 members and associates. Police say every member of the Zig Zag Crew, the Hells Angels' puppet club, was put behind bars while only a handful of Hells Angels remain free. With the demand for drugs as high as ever, the criminal underworld was thrown into turmoil.