Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Police seek more witnesses, scour scene of fatal shooting

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WINNIPEG police said officers would continue to search for evidence at the scene of a deadly restaurant shooting and seek more witnesses.

Police interviewed several employees and customers following the early Thursday morning shooting at the Sals restaurant at Stafford Street and Pembina Highway, but said more customers were inside at the time and did not wait to be interviewed.

"Those individuals left the scene for obvious reasons," Michalyshen said, adding they are not considered suspects or associates of the victims. "They may possess additional information with respect to how things played out."

Michalyshen confirmed the identity of the man who died from bullet wounds as Jeffrey Michael Lau, 23. News reports identified the surviving victim as Garrick Nickel, 22.

Police said both men were targeted by the shooter. No one else was injured.

Lau was taken to hospital in critical condition. Paramedics worked frantically on him inside the restaurant and while he was on the stretcher being taken to the ambulance. Nickel was taken to hospital in unstable condition but was later upgraded to stable.

University of Manitoba criminologist Frank Cormier described the attack as brazen, saying it was likely carried out in a public manner to send a message to rival gangs.

A justice source said the shooting was the outcome of a struggle between emerging crime groups trying to control the illegal drug trade in the absence of the Hells Angels.

The source said both victims are tied to the drug underworld.

Michalyshen said police don't know the motive for the attack but added they are looking at the possibility of a gang connection and a drug fight.

Michalyshen said police hadn't yet determined how many shots were fired, adding the forensic identification unit would be at the scene for part of the weekend to collect evidence. "It is very complex and tedious work," he said.

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 29, 2012 A8

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