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Man who died in Stella Avenue standoff was ordered to vacate house after dispute with relatives

Police investigating how man died after overnight standoff

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A man who died during an armed standoff with Winnipeg police at a North End home was recently ordered evicted following a legal dispute with relatives over his right to live there.

On July 10, Andrew Baryluk, 52, saw Manitoba's top court deny his appeal of a recent Residential Tenancies Board order granting possession of 512 Stella Ave. to another family member.

The home had been sold by relatives to a third-party but Baryluk maintained there had been an agreement he could live there indefinitely, according to court records.

After a full hearing in June, the RTB ordered him to vacate the house by no later than 11:59 p.m. on July 6, but that order was held in abeyance pending the outcome of his case in the Court of Appeal.

Police this afternoon identified Baryluk as the man they found dead inside the home after a 17-hour standoff that started Wednesday morning but didn't conclude until around 3 a.m. this morning.

Police spokesperson Det-Sgt. Natalie Aitken said an investigation by the Winnipeg Police Service's homicide unit is trying to determine those facts.

What we do know is this: At about 10:45 a.m. Wednesday, officers went to the home on a call about a distraught man. Prior to arriving, officers learned the man was possibly armed and had made threats to harm himself.

A number of police units arrived on scene and secured the area. Some nearby residences were evacuated as a precaution.

The standoff took police well into the night and into Thursday morning. Aitken said the reason was police wanted to minimize risk to everybody, including Baryluk.

"We want to, as a police service, ensure that our main priority is the safety of all those involved, whether that's the people in the area, the individual himself, or the officers attending that scene. It's not taken lightly and we try to, as much as we can, resolve situations," she said.

Aitken said throughout the afternoon and into the evening, police made contact with the man and spoke to him. Then, shortly after 8:20 p.m. shots were fired from within the house, and police fired back.

Members of the heavily armed Tactical Support Team members entered the home around 3 a.m. and an unconscious man was found. A paramedic from the team confirmed the man was dead. 

No officers were injured during the incident.

The standoff lasted about 17 hours.

During that time, what sounded like gunshots rang out several times through the night, along with the sound of breaking glass, ending around 1:41 a.m. After that there was silence, until police cruisers started leaving around 3 a.m.

The standoff began shortly after 10:45 a.m. Wednesday, when police received a phone call.

"The information that we did have is that the male was possibly threatening to harm officers and potentially himself," Aitken said early Thursday morning, from a command post down the street from the home.

By mid-evening, the officers apparently threw a flash grenade into the home in an attempt to get the "armed and barricaded" man to give himself up, a police source told the Free Press.

But the man responded by opening fire on the officers. Nobody was hit, but police fired back, Aitken said.

Aitken confirmed police cut power to the home, and several neighbouring residences, as darkness began to fall.

Neighbours were moved to buses for their comfort and safety, Aitken said.

"We have evacuated a number of people. Our main concern is their safety... we're trying to make this as comfortable as possible," she said.

Police were still talking and negotiating with the man into the wee hours of Thursday morning.

Throughout the night bangs could be heard, some sounding like gun shots, and some louder.

Adjacent properties were either evacuated or residents told to stay in their homes, Aitken said. Those evacuated won't be able to go back until all the evidence at the scene has been collected.

"We'll be on scene for quite some time. The residents within that direct area ... would not be permitted back in until that's cleared by our identification specialist," she said.

An area resident who declined to give her name said she saw three officers in front of her house, crouched behind a police cruiser. The officers told her to get out, she said.

The resident had recently moved to the area, and said she was shocked at what had happened. She was told when moving that this was a quiet neighbourhood.

"It's kind of put a shock into us all," she said.

"We're from the country. The worst we hear (there) is a dog fight."

The resident left her house, with her family, but with no shoes, and no diapers for her grandchildren. She said she hoped the situation would resolve quickly.

"I just want this to be over. I just want to put my grandkids to bed," she said.

Aitkens estimated five or six members of the Tactical Support Unit were placed on administrative leave. It's a standard move when shootings involving police happen, Aitken said.

"It really is for the health and well-being of our members, and for the investigation to go forward, for them to take some time out of the workplace," she said.

—With files from James Turner


Updated on Wednesday, July 30, 2014 at 10:56 PM CDT: Adds photo.

11:03 PM: Corrects typo in subhead.

11:36 PM: Updates after police news conference.

11:53 PM: Updates with more info from police.

1:25 AM: Updates as standoff continues.

July 31, 2014 at 3:24 AM: Updates as standoff continues.

4:00 AM: Updates following 3:40 a.m. police news conference.

4:23 AM: Updates with writethru.

8:11 AM: Corrects typo

8:52 AM: Removes duplicated word

10:05 AM: Updates with announcement of police press conference at 1

11:29 AM: Adds update about body

12:45 PM: Corrects typo in headline

1:38 PM: Updates with info from police.

2:25 PM: Adds quotes from Aitkens

2:28 PM: Updates video

3:25 PM: Adds info on eviction order

4:19 PM: corrects typo

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