Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 04/11/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
Last Modified: 04/11/2013 10:26 AM | Updates
Nigel Dixon's short life included plenty of despair, including losing his mother to cancer when he was a young boy.
But there was also plenty of hope for the 20-year-old man -- hope that was snuffed out last week by gun-wielding gang members. Dixon was shot dead on Langside Street just after 4 p.m. on April 2 in what police say was a case of mistaken identity. His killers, who have yet to be identified, apparently mistook him for a rival, chased him down the street and executed him.
"I drive by where it happened and just keep thinking 'Oh my God, he must have been running for his life,' " Bev Nielson told the Free Press Wednesday.
She took on the role of surrogate mom after her own son befriended Dixon in elementary school.
Dixon was being raised by a single father in the West End but spent plenty of time at Nielson's downtown residence, where he often talked about the challenges of living in a crime-ridden area.
"Sometimes he'd be scared, he'd come to the house and more than a few times tell me he thought people were following him," said Nielson. "I'd always give him a ride home, watch him go inside to make sure he was safe."
Dixon and several friends recently addressed some of those fears by attending the Future Is Yours life-skills program through the Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre. A gang-awareness section is part of the program.
Dixon graduated and found temporary employment while looking forward to a bright future. But nothing could have prepared him for what he'd encounter on the street last week.
Nielson described Dixon as a mild-mannered and shy young man who often walked with his head down, avoiding eye contact, with a hoodie pulled over his head. She believes that sort of appearance may have led his killer to wrongly label him a gang member.
Police were quick to point out earlier this week he was an innocent victim as they appealed to the public for help in solving his slaying.
"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," Const. Jason Michalyshen said.
"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.
Dixon's body was returned to Garden Hill and his funeral was held Monday.
Many of his friends have also been participating in sharing circles at Ma Mawi in the wake of his death.
"It's really hit the kids hard," said Nielson. She said it's frightening how many people are carrying guns in Winnipeg, especially those involved in gangs.
"And they just seem to be getting younger and younger. It's so unreal," she said. "It's just so unbelievable this could happen."
Police believe other people saw the shooting and urge these witnesses to call detectives at 204-986-6508 or Crime Stoppers at 204-786-TIPS (8477).
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 11, 2013 B1
Updated on Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 10:26 AM CDT: changes headline, replaces photo
Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories? Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
Proposed settlement reached to end case of nude photos
Pat Quinn remembered for big heart
Majority of older Canadians feel homegrown terrorism serious threat: poll
Groundbreaking teen, organizer of intergrated prom, visits CMHR
Schools cancel classes due to power outages
Transgender girl's complaint goes ahead despite move
Winnipeg Cheapskate: Travel getaway tips
And now, back to winter
Devastated father Jimmy Greene has crafted a powerful musical tribute to his murdered six-year-old girl
Bird poop, leaking roofs damaging legislature
Probe begins in fatal shooting of boy by officer
Tickets for OneRepublic's MTS Centre concert on sale Nov. 29
Iran nuclear talks to be extended until July
Home is where the hub is
Fewer students, more teachers
Onex buys Swiss juice box manufacturer
Greece, creditors look to revive bailout review
Fisherman's murder trial to resume
Uncertainty fuels speculation on Ferguson decision
2nd Czech government minister targeted with poison
Visitors to descend on agriculture exhibition
Soviet hockey coach Tikhonov dies at 84