Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Father's death stuns family

Teen faces charges after chaotic brawl

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Marcel Murdock died in the early morning hours of Saturday after a bizarre, chaotic and ultimately deadly party brawl sprawled out onto Garfield Street.

A 21-year-old man remains in hospital in critical condition, a 39-year-old woman is in stable condition, and a 17-year-old female faces a charge of manslaughter, a charge of operating a motor vehicle causing death and two counts of operating a vehicle causing bodily harm.

Two men, ages 18 and 39, face several weapons charges, and police are still trying to sort out what happened.

They believe the tragedy was sparked by a dispute between a young couple during a social gathering that spun out of control.

Police would not identify the victim, but his father and his cousin confirmed Sunday Murdock, a 40-year-old father of three who worked as a crew member in Winnipeg's film industry, died in the brawl.

Marshall Murdock said Sunday his son had died in the melee but declined to comment until the results from the autopsy are released.

Murdock's cousin Nancy Wilson said she hasn't been able to sleep since she came home to learn her cousin had been killed.

Arriving home Saturday from a trip out of town, Wilson found her son sitting outside of a neighbour's home.

"He said 'I don't know how to say this... Marcel is dead,' " said Wilson.

Wilson said she learned the fight had broken out at her home while she was away.

Now she's angry with the people she says got "drunk and stupid" at her home before attacking her cousin.

"It's so insane," said the 48-year-old mother. "He was a great guy. Everybody liked him."

"I lost a cousin," said Wilson, adding her family is devastated. "We've all cried our eyes out."

Murdock's 21-year-old son was among the injured taken to hospital. He remains in critical condition.

Alerted by the sounds of fighting, Garfield Street resident Annika Onosson said she watched from her son's bedroom window as a minivan drove wildly through the street in front of her home.

"She reversed and there were people behind the minivan and she hit them," said Onosson, who said the minivan repeatedly struck an older-model Chevy being driven by two men also involved in the brawl.

As Onosson made the call to 911, she watched the minivan make a final charge, climbing up the curb, into a yard and striking a bare-chested man.

Onosson said the driver then got out of the car and walked away.

Onosson was disturbed to learn a man subsequently died in the brawl. "I've never seen anything like that," she said.

Const. Jason Michalyshen said police responded to the 1000 block of Garfield near Wellington Avenue around 2:50 a.m. Saturday, but witnesses said the trouble had started around midnight and kept escalating.

Michalyshen said police believe a dozen or more people assaulted each other with various weapons, including a bat, a shovel, sticks, bear spray and possibly knives.

The homicide unit is still investigating.

"It's kind of a complex situation for our investigators," Michalyshen said. Officers from homicide, the traffic unit and divisional detectives have all been involved in the investigation.

"We had a lot of resources to really sort through this unfortunate circumstance.

"Obviously some people involved took this matter to an extreme," Michalyshen said.

"Quite simply, there was some poor decision-making and poor judgment."

A father of three grown children, Murdock described himself on Facebook as an "all-Canadian average boy" whose kids were the most important thing in his life.

"They are the blood that flows through my veins," wrote Murdock. "I cannot breathe without them."

He had trained with Film Training Manitoba to become a grip, a crew member on local film productions.

Wilson said actor Adam Beach and Murdock were longtime friends who grew up together.

"I'm pretty sure Adam is going to be upset," said Wilson. "I know they were very close. I'm sure he'll be hurt. We're all hurt."

Sunday evening two members of Murdock's family wept in the street where dark skid marks were all that was left of the mayhem that had passed.

One woman kneeled on the ground. "My baby is gone," she repeated. "My baby is gone."

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 22, 2011 A3

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