A "daring" drive-by shooting that killed one man, injured another and rained bullets and shattered glass through a River-Osborne-area intersection a month before Christmas has prompted Winnipeg’s homicide unit to appeal to the public for more information.
Using surveillance video footage captured from cameras at nearby businesses, investigators have spotted two vehicles that were close to the victims’ sedan when the shots were fired Nov. 26 at about 3 a.m. at Donald Street and Stradbrook Avenue.
Police can’t tell if the gunfire came from either of the vehicles, homicide unit Sgt. John O’Donovan said during a news conference Wednesday.
They’ve zeroed in on a newer model light grey or silver SUV – possibly a Jeep Cherokee or a Range Rover – that looked like it was being driven by a Caucasian woman, as well as a four-door newer model black BMW sedan with several people inside. Police are still trying to identify the people in both passing vehicles, O’Donovan said. They would’ve seen the glass that "pretty much exploded" when bullets broke through the windows of the grey 2013 Acura ILX, killing 32-year-old Edmonton resident Theodoros "Teddy" Belayneh, O’Donovan said.
"These people knew something happened in that intersection. Please come forward. Please help us out. We need to know a little bit more about who shot Teddy Belayneh," he said.
Belayneh was in the Acura's passenger seat with an unidentified male driver after attending an Ace Hood hip-hop show at the Reset Interactive Ultralounge on Pembina Highway. They were heading north on Donald and were in front of an apartment block when several shots were fired in a "brazen" and "daring" drive-by shooting that was likely meant to kill both men, O’Donovan said. The driver was seriously injured but has since been upgraded to stable condition.
"There’s no doubt about it that their intention was to kill the occupants of that vehicle," O'Donovan said.
"It’s not something that we’re used to seeing in Winnipeg. We do have a lot of murders in Winnipeg — this is different. It’s structured differently," he said, drawing a comparison to gun violence that has rocked U.S. cities such as Chicago.
"There’s people sleeping behind those windows in that apartment block. There’s other residences close by. There (were) people walking in the area," he said, gesturing to a video the homicide unit filmed at the scene. "This is Winnipeg, it’s not Chicago, so we can’t allow that to continue. We’ve got to step up and get some help to make sure that we get the people responsible."
Police still don’t know why Belayneh was targeted. Investigators determined, with help from people who were at the concert, that he was involved in a "silly dispute" there, but "it was nothing that should have led to a shooting," O’Donovan said.
"Speaking to some girls for too long and probably got under somebody’s skin," he said, saying investigators don’t believe the shooting was connected to something that happened at the club.
Belayneh does have a criminal record, but police haven’t determined whether he was involved with a gang or the drug trade. His friend, the driver who is recovering after the shooting and is "extremely lucky to be alive" has been as helpful to police as he can, O’Donovan said.
"He hasn’t given us any indication of why this might have happened or who might be responsible."
Police have spoken in-depth with Belayneh’s family, who didn’t have any information on the 32-year-old’s criminal involvement, O’Donovan said. Police have no information to suggest the fatal shooting is linked to other gang violence in Winnipeg, he said.
"As much as there is a gang issues in the city, there is no huge violent rivalry that has erupted or anything like that at this point in time that would lead us to believe that. And there hasn’t been any repercussions after this killing that would lead us to believe that, either."
Police are asking anyone with information to call 204-986-6508 or Crime Stoppers at 204-786-8477.