Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Tragedy revisits notorious building

Stabbing death is city's second homicide of '09

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The boyfriend of a 36-year-old woman killed in a Balmoral Street stabbing will be charged with second-degree murder, her family members said police told them.

Relatives of Valerie Ann Paypompee, originally of Shoal Lake, Ont., said she died around 4 a.m. Sunday in the city's second homicide of the year.

Hours before the stabbing at 624 Balmoral St., neighbours said they saw a resident storming up and down the halls of the apartment block carrying three knives.

The resident is notorious at the three-storey brick building for violent fights and property damage to the couple's third-floor rental suite, the neighbours said.

"She was friendly and she was fun," said Darren Paypompee, from Shoal Lake, of his sister Valerie.

Relatives said Paypompee had two teenage daughters aged 16 and 15 who live in Winnipeg, but not with their mother.

She and the suspect had known each other for years, said her brother.

Police have not confirmed the victim's name, nor the name of the man taken into custody.

Sister Dale Paypompee said she spoke with police Sunday, and an officer told her that her sister died after an altercation with her boyfriend after the man partied with other residents of the decrepit Balmoral Street block.

Dale Paypompee said her sister had been hospitalized before, and struggled with drug addiction.

She also said police told her the suspect asked neighbours to call the police after the stabbing, while holding the bleeding woman. Emergency personnel came and took her to hospital, said Dale Paypompee.

"They tried to help her but she passed away there," she said.

"I was shocked and angry... I had a feeling something was going to happen."

A funeral for Valerie Paypompee is planned to take place this week in Shoal Lake, said her sister.

Midday Sunday, the police identification unit was on the scene at the brick three-storey building, with yellow evidence markers arranged on a back staircase leading to the top floor.

"(The suspect) was walking around with knives in his hands," before the stabbing, said one resident, who said other tenants often saw and heard the man and slain woman arguing.

The suspect repeatedly knocked on the door of an absent neighbour's suite, one said, which caused one resident interviewed by the Free Press to close his own door and watch from a peephole. Police have not released the suspect's name or age.

The couple was already facing eviction for damage they did to the suite, residents said. Substance abuse -- including mouthwash-drinking, alcohol abuse and crack cocaine use -- are practices these residents are familiar with.

"There's always drama," said another neighbour, who feared for their safety and did not want their name used.

"It was coming and it was very obvious it was coming," said another.

They said the man taken into custody is well-known to police and lived at 624 Balmoral at different times over the last few years. He had been living there with Paypompee consistently for the last four months.

Room rentals in the building cost from $250 to $300 per month, according to an online advertisement, a fee that includes rooms furnished with fridges and beds. Abstainers are "a must," the ad reads.

The building has recently come under new management, said residents.

Residents here are familiar with violence -- especially after one of their own died in another reported homicide.

The death Sunday comes just a few months after charges were laid in a grisly death in an adjacent unit of the rooming house. Philip Nhial Mayur, 39, was fatally stabbed in the upper body at his small rooming-house apartment at 626 Balmoral St. on the evening of Nov. 8., 2008.

Kworo Ojulu, 26 and Ojullo Agwa, 42, were taken into custody Dec. 4 facing first-degree murder charges.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 19, 2009 A5

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