Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Police mum on standoff death

Won't reveal if cop's bullet killed man

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KEN GIGLIOTTI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
Winnipeg police use a black cloth to shield a body on gurney while removing a body from the house after a long standoff on Thursday.

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KEN GIGLIOTTI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Winnipeg police use a black cloth to shield a body on gurney while removing a body from the house after a long standoff on Thursday.

Winnipeg police likely know who -- and what -- killed Andrew Baryluk. But they're not about to share that information yet with the man's family or with the public.

An autopsy has been completed following the death of the 53-year-old man during a 17-hour standoff. The biggest question that remains unanswered is whether Baryluk died by his own hand or was killed by a police bullet.

Police said Friday those important details would have to wait and provided no timeline for their release.

"This is dependent on when the investigation pertaining to officers discharging their firearms is concluded. We are unable to provide this information until that part of the investigation is completed," Det.-Sgt. Natalie Aitken told the Free Press.

Police have stated shots were fired from inside Baryluk's home on Wednesday evening, which led to members of the tactical support unit returning fire. It's not clear if any of those shots struck Baryluk, who had barricaded himself inside while fighting eviction from the family home he'd lived in all his life.

Police refused to comment Friday when asked if they found a firearm inside the home.

"That forms part of the investigation and we will be unable to comment at this time," said Aitken.

One family member said Friday Baryluk had told a relative on Wednesday morning "he had a gun and was not leaving the house." This came immediately after sheriff's officers had arrived to enforce Baryluk's eviction, based on a recent court ruling.

The familial home is owned by his older brother, John, who could no longer financially support it and had sold it with the idea of dividing the proceeds among all siblings.

Family members have been critical of how police handled the situation, saying they were not allowed to speak with Baryluk during the evening. They believe they could have talked him into surrendering peacefully if given the chance.

They note earlier this week, Baryluk called his family to get them to come to the home and remove any items they wanted, in preparation for moving out.

"Everyone assumed it was because he had plans to move to a place that couldn't accommodate a household amount of items, such as a bachelor suite," a relative said Friday. "Andrew was cool. They had no idea he was planning anything like this."

The family is also balking at suggestions they contributed to Baryluk's demise by forcing him out of the home.

"The public view is this is about greed. John and the other siblings are old, mostly retired, not well-off. None could afford to keep the house up on (Andrew's) welfare payments. It needed major repairs," said a relative.

They also repeatedly asked Baryluk to seek medical assistance in recent months.

"The family couldn't get Andrew to any health professional. He just refused to go. And unless a person is threatening to harm himself or others, no one can make them go," the relative said.

Of course, that ultimately happened on Wednesday. But it was too late to make a difference.

Winnipeg police homicide detectives are now leading the investigation.

A Free Press analysis shows there have been 24 police shootings in Manitoba since 2007 -- 21 involving Winnipeg police, three with the RCMP. Of those, six ended with the suspect being killed. If Baryluk was killed by a police bullet, he would be the seventh.

www.mikeoncrime.com

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 2, 2014 0

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