Manitoba’s police watchdog is investigating after an adult male was shot and killed following an encounter with Winnipeg police officers on Friday night in the West End.
At just before 8 p.m., Winnipeg police said officers encountered a 26-year-old man acting suspiciously in the area of Sargent Avenue and Maryland Street.
Police said as officers approached the male, he fled. Officers again made contact with the male in a nearby vacant lot. During this encounter, the male produced a weapon and officers discharged their firearms. Officers subsequently provided CPR and other life-saving medical treatment and the man was taken to hospital in critical condition but later died from his wounds.
“This is a tragedy for everyone involved, not only the officers who were forced to use lethal force but you have a man who lost his life (Friday) too,” said police spokesperson Const. Jay Murray at a press briefing on Saturday morning. “It’s not a good situation all around. It’s a tragedy for both our officers and for the family members of this individual.”
The Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba (IIU) was notified and has assumed responsibility for the investigation. IIU investigators were immediately deployed to the scene.
The IIU is asking witnesses and other individuals who may have information or video footage to assist this investigation to contact them toll-free at 1-844-667-6060.
Officers and IIU investigators were on the scene Saturday with Sherbrook Street taped off from Ellice Avenue until almost up to Sargent with evidence markers in front of one of the residences on Sherbrook. A back lane behind the Safeway in the 600 block of Sargent was taped off and blocked by a police cruiser with evidence markers near what appeared to be a red and black piece of clothing.
One area resident said he could hear the gunshots from his home several streets away. When he walked over the check things out at around 9:30 p.m., he said he was questioned and briefly detained by police who told him he matched the description of the suspect.
“This area is getting worse and worse,” said Adam, who did not want to give his last name. “It’s not a surprise (that something like this happens).”
One woman at the scene Saturday said she could see the flashing police lights from her home on the next street.
“Certainly this is a situation you hope to never get involved in your career,” said Murray. “I think most officers hope to go their entire careers without having to use lethal force. Now there are probably a number of stages that they’re going through thinking back to this incident. We’re fortunate enough that our service has a number of protocols in place to deal with the well-being of these officers and those protocols are underway.”
This marked the second incident this week where officers fired their weapons.
On Wednesday evening, officers were engaged in a high-speed chase which ended with officers discharging their firearms at the vehicle, hitting one of the suspects. The suspect was taken to hospital where he was treated and released and placed in custody.