An aspiring Winnipeg model was wearing Hells Angels clothing when he was shot dead this past weekend, the Free Press has learned.
Johnathen James Felix, 21, had a "Support The Big Red Machine" T-shirt on at the time of his death -- a detail that has investigators probing suspected gang links in the slaying.
No arrests have been made, and police have released few details about Winnipeg's ninth homicide of 2012. Felix's body was found in a yard in the 200 block of Balmoral Street on Saturday evening, several hours after residents reported hearing gunshots.
A justice source told the Free Press Felix had been stopped by police in February in the company of B-side gang members. Felix also had a close relative who is in the gang, the source said.
Felix's possible link to the Hells Angels isn't as clear. He was wearing what is known as "support clothing," which aspiring prospects and hangers-on often do. But his name is not listed in any police databank as having any official ties to the Hells.
However, police are questioning whether his killing is connected in any way to the gang, which has been involved in numerous high-profile incidents of violence over the past year as they battle for "drug turf" with rival gang members, including the Rock Machine. Recently, nearly every active member and associate of the Hells Angels was arrested as part of an undercover sting operation, putting their short-term status in jeopardy.
Officially, police have only said they are not ruling out possible gang or drug involvement in Felix's death.
Several family members have spoken publicly and denied Felix had any direct gang links.
He had recently moved back to Winnipeg after completing high school in British Columbia. Relatives say he planned to pursue a career in modelling or acting.
A candlelight vigil was held Monday night near the scene of the shooting, attended by about 200 people. A nearby fence has also been turned into a makeshift memorial, with many posting notes of condolence.