Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Drug 'ambush' eyed in killing

Man, 22, dead in fatal shooting in St. Vital lane

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A Winnipeg police detective surveys the scene at an Essex Avenue home Sunday morning after a fatal shooting.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

A Winnipeg police detective surveys the scene at an Essex Avenue home Sunday morning after a fatal shooting. Photo Store

The 22-year-old man shot to death in a back lane of a quiet St. Vital residential neighbourhood early Sunday morning may have been ambushed in a drug deal.

Sources told the Free Press Sunday the dead man and a second 27-year-old man who is in hospital in stable condition were shot after being lured to the lane behind the 100 block of Essex Avenue in a drug deal.

"It was an ambush. Probably set up as a drug transaction, then the gunman popped up and unloaded on them," said a source.

Sources said the deceased was Justin Latinecz, though police have not released the victim's name. A phone call to the only Latinecz listed in Winnipeg went to voice mail and was not returned.

Sources said the dead man was an associate of Jeffrey Michael Lau, the 23-year-old shot to death in the early morning of Sept. 27, 2012. Lau and another man were shot while sitting in the Salisbury House restaurant at the corner of Pembina Highway and Stafford Street.

A Facebook photo shows Latinecz sported a tattoo on his neck commemorating the date of Lau's death.

"He took over the selling of drugs for Lau after he was killed," one source said.

Officially, all police were saying Sunday is that a double shooting left one man dead and another in hospital.

Const. Eric Hofley would not release any further details -- police were not divulging exactly where the shootings occurred.

Investigators had cordoned off Essex Avenue, and the lane between Essex and Ellesmere Avenue to the south, from mid-block to as far as Rue des Meurons. Residents were not allowed to move their cars, though police were allowing them to leave the area under escort from police cadets.

Plainclothes detectives were concentrating their efforts in the back lane behind about eight houses but were also searching for evidence in yards and on Essex Avenue.

There were no visible signs of evidence markers or other indications the shootings happened in the back lane.

Essex Avenue runs east off St. Mary's Road, a quiet neighbourhood of tidy bungalows two blocks from Glenwood School.

One man on Ellesmere Avenue said he heard noises nearby about 3:40 a.m.

"I heard bang, bang, bang, bang -- I thought, 'Who the hell is knocking something this time of the morning?' "

The man, who did not want to give his name for fear of retribution, displayed a bullet hole in his window, an incident from two years ago he said police have yet to solve.

"There's a whole gang of kids, 15 or 20 of them, who go around all night," he said.

The man heard the noises not long before police cruisers and the canine unit were pulling up from several directions.

Another resident said she heard popping noises, but went back to sleep.

Other residents said it's a quiet neighbourhood in which nothing much happens -- they heard nothing.

"I've never seen anything here -- I've been here five years," said Brent Boulter, who had police knocking on his door just after 5 a.m.

"Oh my God... this is crazy," said Janelle Janzen, shocked to hear there had been shots fired in her back lane.

She and husband Mitch had gone to bed late and didn't hear anything.

"Nothing has ever happened. No one is ever out" late at night, with the exception of patrons from a bar on St. Mary's Road occasionally walking down the street, she said.

www.mikeoncrime.com

nick.martin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 30, 2013 B1

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Updated on Monday, September 30, 2013 at 6:31 AM CDT: Adds photo

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