Winnipeg police admit they failed to respond to a 911 call warning of trouble outside a downtown bar that came in 24 minutes before a deadly weekend shooting.
Police Chief Devon Clunis announced today an internal investigation is now underway to determine what went wrong. As well, staff members from the communications centre who were involved in the incident -- including the duty officer -- have all been placed on administrative leave pending the review.
Rustom Vito Paclipan, 23, died of injuries from the shooting, which happened early Sunday morning outside Opera Night Club at 441 Main St. Two other men were also hit by gunfire but survived. Police have made no arrests in the incident, which they believe was triggered by ongoing gang tensions.
Clunis revealed the following timeline on Tuesday, which raises questions about whether the tragedy could have been prevented.
- 1:39 a.m.: Staff at Opera first called police via the 911 service after they discovered a group of people fighting outside the nightclub. Staff made a request for police to attend the scene, as there was worry the "situation could escalate"
- 1:42 a.m.: A call for service was generated and entered but no units were dispatched.
- 1:59 a.m.: The call for service was abruptly cancelled from within the 911 Communication Centre, still without a police unit ever having attended the scene. It’s not clear why this occurred.
- 2:03 a.m.: A 911 call came, reporting that shots had been fired outside of Opera. Emergency personnel were immediately dispatched and responded to the scene.
- 2:06 a.m.: Police arrive. By then, Paclipan was being treated by paramedics but was unable to be saved. The other two shooting victims had apparently left the scene, as had the suspects.
"I felt it was important to notify the public of this," Clunis said today. "I think if you call the 911 centre, as you’ve seen, we will respond. That’s why I’m taking the step in ordering this investigation to find out what happened in this particular event."
Clunis said it’s too early to say whether it was a civilian member of the communications centre, or a senior officer, who was involved in cancelling the first 911 call. Clunis also didn’t want to speculate whether the shooting would have been prevented had police responded to the request for help.
"I think it’s best that we wait for the details to bear themselves out fully," he said. "I’m sure the investigation will give us the very firm facts we can stand on."