Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Suspect charged after Pacific Avenue death

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A young Winnipeg man now facing a murder charge in a recent fatal shooting has a history of firearms-related convictions and was banned from owning or possessing guns.

Winnipeg police said today that Tristan Stewart Bradburn, 21, will face a second-degree murder charge in connection to a shooting in the inner city area last Saturday afternoon which fatally wounded Geoffrey Oliver Reid, 27.

He is presumed innocent of the allegation.

Reid was shot a single time after going to Bradburn's home on Alexander Avenue before 5 p.m. and a fight broke out, police said. Reid, though seriously injured, managed to make his way to nearby Pacific Avenue. It's there he was found and rushed to hospital where he died, said police.

It remains unknown to investigators why Reid over went to Bradburn's place. "I've been given no information as to motive," said Const. Eric Hofley.

Both men were known to police and the criminal justice system. Bradburn was arrested Wednesday morning and is being held in custody at the Winnipeg Remand Centre.

Less than a year ago, on July 10, Bradburn was sentenced to nine months in jail (six months of it was time-served) after admitting responsibility in provincial court for two gun-related incidents.

On the night of May 23, 2012, police stopped Bradburn as he rode by them on a bicycle near Elgin Avenue and Isabel Street. They said he was suspiciously touching a backpack he was wearing and appeared to be trying to hide his face.

He dropped the backpack after they approached and fled. One officer took off on foot, and his partner discovered a sawed-off .22-calibre rifle in the bag.

Bradburn said he wasn't aware there was a gun in the bag. He'd been paid money to take it from one place to another and he believed it contained drugs, Judge Michel Chartier heard. He admitted being "wilfully blind" as to the bag's contents.

Released by police on a promise to appear, Bradburn failed to turn up in court. By Aug. 31, 2012, police learned he was living at a relative's home on Furby Street. When they went to check, he answered the door and fled into the residence.

Inside, they found a sawed-off "Soviet-era" rifle made in 1938 sitting on the couch, a prohibited weapon in Canada. Although the home wasn't his — Bradburn said the gun belonged to someone else — he admitted to having control over it at the time police caught up to him.

"Mr. Bradburn acknowledges that guns are extremely dangerous," his lawyer, Lisa Labossiere, told Chartier. "Guns in Canada and Winnipeg are certainly a problem," she added.

Bradburn at the time denied having gang ties, but Labossiere conceded officials might consider him one because of people he associated with in the past.

Chartier was told Bradburn had used his jail time productively and had taken counselling and programming, including anger-management courses. A pre-sentencing report shone a positive light on his efforts and hopes to improve his future prospects.

"There is absolutely evidence here of this individual having ambition," said Labossiere.

"I don't need to tell you that carrying guns, possessing guns (is) extremely serious," Chartier told him. "Too many people are dying on our streets as a result of this type of behaviour."

As part of his overall sentence, Bradburn was barred from having or holding weapons for a 10-year period and placed on supervised probation for 18 months.

The man police allege Bradburn shot to death last weekend also had a history of weapon-related crimes.

Reid was shot by officers in July 2010 in the 500 block of Alexander Avenue after he threatened them with a gun.

He escaped and went missing for five days before being arrested at a Maryland Street home.

It was only after the arrest that police found out the man had been hit by a bullet fired by an officer's weapon.

In May, 2012, he pleaded guilty to firearms-related offences and was sentenced to two years less a day in jail.

His death marks the sixth homicide in Winnipeg so far this year.

With Free Press files



Updated on Thursday, April 17, 2014 at 12:28 PM CDT: Writethru.

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