Two people were trying to get away from their assailants when they were shot on Langside Street last week, Winnipeg police said at a news conference today. The victims were accused by their assailants of being gang members.
Nigel Dixon, 20, died of his injuries, while the woman who was accompanying him remains in stable condition in hospital. Both were shot in the 500 block of Langside about 4 p.m. on April 2.
Dixon and the woman were approached by a suspect group and during a brief discussion, the two victims denied any gang involvement. The victims tried to flee the area but were followed by the suspect group and shot.
Police say injuries to the victims support information that they were trying to get away when they were shot.
Cst. Jason Michalyshen said police believe this was a case of mistaken identity, as the victims are not affiliated with any gangs.
"A young man has lost his life. It is our goal to figure out exactly what took place and identify the individuals involved and hold them accountable," said Michalyshen.
"When we have incidents like this occur, whether they occur during the day or they occur at night, it is baffling to us that any member of the public, any human being would react in this fashion. We’re talking about a violent incident occuring in the middle of the day in broad daylight. Absolutely, it’s pretty brazen."
Michalyshen said police have not determined conclusively that members of the group were gang members and declined to say how many suspects are being sought.
"We’re at a point in the investigation where we’re making every effort to identify them (the suspects). We’re reaching out to the public," Michalyshen said, adding police have received some tips from the public, some of them anonymous. "We’d like to ask those individuals who have contacted investigators anonymously, to call us again.
"Like in any investigation, a small component, a small nugget of information can make the difference of moving forward successfully with an investigation or sitting at a standstill."
Michalyshen said police believe other people saw the shooting and urged these witnesses to call detectives at 204-986-6508 or Crime Stoppers at 204-786-TIPS (8477).