Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Gunfire outside club deadly

Man shot to death, others might be hurt

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Police tape and evidence markers on Main Street outside the Opera Ultralounge nightclub.

DAVID LIPNOWSKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Police tape and evidence markers on Main Street outside the Opera Ultralounge nightclub. Photo Store

A man was shot to death early Sunday outside a downtown nightclub, and police say there might have been other victims who have not come forward.

The deceased was in his 20s. He was shot outside the Opera Ultralounge at Main Street and Bannatyne Avenue around 2 a.m.

It's Winnipeg's ninth homicide of 2014. Police are not ruling out the possibility other people might have been injured.

Winnipeg police spokesman Const. Jason Michalyshen said officers responded to a cellphone tip about shots being fired and a group of males involved in a confrontation in front of the Opera Ultralounge.

Paramedics transported one man to hospital, where he died.

"These injuries are consistent with being shot," Michalyshen said, noting an autopsy is pending.

"At this time, investigators are looking into the possibility that additional victims were involved."

Sunday morning, officers were seen outside the nightclub in the 400 block of Main Street collecting evidence that included a black cap with a brim and a red-coloured clothing item.

Footage from surveillance cameras in the area has been collected, as police have determined the gunfire occurred outside the club.

"We want to make it very clear that this incident did take place in the area of Main Street and Bannatyne. We're not specifically identifying any bar or anything right now," Michalyshen said.

"We're certainly looking into the possibility that these individuals were present in that bar prior to the firearm discharge taking place.

"We're ultimately trying to determine what transpired, and if anything did transpire in there (Opera), did it precipitate this incident in any way, shape or form...

"We're going to try to identify who is involved and any suspect or suspects that were directly involved and their motivation behind this very violent act."

Michalyshen said police are investigating information more people might have been hurt in the incident but have yet to come forward.

"There have been some questions, brought to my attention, that there might be more victims. I can just tell you we are looking into that possibility," he said.

"We have received some information already that other victims may have been present at the time of the firearm discharge, and there might be other individuals who have sustained injuries as a result of this incident."

Michalyshen could not say if there was more than one gun involved or how many shots were fired.

He said it was too early to say how many males were involved in the street confrontation or if the incident was gang-related.

"There's no way we're going to make that leap right now. We have to be open-minded with respect to the investigation and let things naturally unfold," he said.

"It's a very unfortunate, a very tragic incident that occurred."

Staff of the Exchange District BIZ could not be reached Sunday. Area Coun. Mike Pagtakhan, who is also a member of the BIZ board, did not respond to phone and email interview requests.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 204-986-6508 or Crime Stoppers at 204-786-TIPS.

In April 2006, 24-year-old Ming Hong Huynh was stabbed to death outside the now-defunct Club Desire, which was then in the premises the Opera Ultralounge now occupies.

Norris Ponce, 31, and Carlos Tavares, 30, were found guilty of manslaughter in the death. Glen Sherman Monkman, 39, was found guilty of second-degree murder for knifing Huynh.

In November 2007, 24-year-old Jeff Engen was stabbed to death inside the Empire Cabaret, on Main Street in the same area as the Opera Ultralounge.

Matthew Wegier, 35, of Winnipeg was convicted of manslaughter in the death and Billy Bowden, 34, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the case.

The Empire Club closed soon after and never reopened. A different nightclub now occupies the same premises.

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 5, 2014 A3

History

Updated on Monday, May 5, 2014 at 6:41 AM CDT: Replaces photo

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