While the Canada Day long weekend is usually a time of joyful celebration, this year marked an unusually deadly weekend, with three separate stabbing deaths.
Two of the stabbings occurred Saturday morning in Winnipeg's North End.
At around 2:15 a.m., emergency crews were called to the 400 block of Pritchard Avenue. They found two males had been stabbed. Both were transported to hospital, where one was upgraded to stable condition, and the other one, John James Allan Lund, 25, died from his injuries.
Police made an arrest in the stabbing. Anton Joseph Biggeorge, 22, was charged with various offences including second-degree murder and attempted murder. He is being detained at the remand centre.
Meanwhile, a separate stabbing occurred just a few blocks away in the 400 block of Manitoba Avenue. Emergency crews were called there around 4:30 a.m. where they found Michael James Keith Flett, 30, with apparent stab wounds. He was transported to hospital but died from his injuries.
'He was a hero. He tried to save his friend'
Flett's mother, speaking to the Free Press on Monday, said her son died protecting somebody.
"He was a hero. He tried to save his friend," she said, choking back tears and unable to continue the interview.
Police are still investigating Flett's death.
Another stabbing death occurred early Sunday in the 300 block of Langside Street. Police were called to the area, where they found Brian O'Donnell, 68, suffering from life-threatening injuries. O'Donnell was transported to hospital, but died from his injuries.
Police said O'Donnell was confronted near his residence at 375 Langside St.
Naomi Shianne Ross, 18, has been charged with second-degree murder in connection to the homicide and is in police custody. Police did not say whether the suspect and victim knew each other.
The owner of the house where O'Donnell lived, Gordon Halushka, said O'Donnell was a kind man, who would often bring the newspaper in for Halushka.
"He got along with everybody in the house," Halushka said.
The incident happened around 5:30 a.m., but Halushka said he was sleeping at the time and didn't hear anything.
"We just didn't hear it, and then another tenant, his wife or girlfriend heard a noise, so he's just in his underwear, and he's the one who spotted (the perpetrators)," he said.
Halushka said he and his wife are still in shock after hearing O'Donnell had died, and seeing the aftermath.
"There's a terrible amount of blood in the hallway there," he said.
"We're kind of numb. Every year I have a big Canada Day celebration in the house. I had got everything ready to go, (but) of course it's cancelled now."
The area where the incident occurred, the Spence neighbourhood, is usually very safe, Haluskha said.
"During the day we have 2,000 students coming through. We've got tons of security, University of Winnipeg security, the BIZ security, their office is right down the street from us, and there's cameras galore," he said.
Still, the general feeling in the neighbourhood on Sunday was one of unease.
"We all feel vulnerable here, especially the older people," Haluskha said.
He said nobody in the residence slept much Saturday night, and the event is going to be on his mind for some time to come.
"We're going to be thinking about this. (W)e heard he had multiple stab wounds in his back so we're imagining him trying to escape and these bastards are knifing him like that. It just gets us going thinking about it," he said.
The stabbings meant a busy weekend for the Winnipeg Police Service. Spokesman Const. Eric Hofley said the weekend was "very taxing."
"In the six months I've been with the (information services) unit, this has been the busiest time for the homicide unit," he said.