Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Young man's hopes, dreams end in death

Returned home to attend university

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He was movie-star handsome, with many friends and plans to attend university. But on Saturday, John Felix became the city's ninth homicide of 2012.

Felix, 21, was found dead just inside the fence of a house at 238 Balmoral St. around 7:40 p.m. Saturday. Police didn't remove his body until Sunday morning.

Police were mum on the details Sunday, refusing to say how Felix died, how long his body may have been lying in the yard or who found him.

Some passersby speculated Felix's death may have been gang-related.

His father, Chummy Fagnan, said Felix had nothing to do with gangs.

"Everyone loved him, everyone respected him," said Fagnan, who stopped by Balmoral Street Sunday afternoon. "He was kind to people."

Fagnan said his son, a twin, recently graduated from high school in Victoria and returned to Winnipeg to attend university. He was working for a roofing company in the meantime.

Felix's Facebook page included many photos from past modelling shoots, including shots of Felix from Native Entertainment magazine, where he was included in a "sexiest person" contest last year.

"You were truly a great person, with a great personality. It's not fair you had to leave us all so soon," wrote his cousin, Sháni Fagnan, on Facebook. "It's heartbreaking, but you're in a better place watching over us."

For many neighbours, the commotion of police and onlookers Sunday morning was the first they heard of the homicide.

Several people said the home where Felix was found dead in the side yard did not appear to have anything to do with the homicide.

Residents in a rooming house across the street said they heard several gunshots coming from the back alley behind their three-storey building early Saturday morning between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m.

"I thought it was cherry bombs," said one resident of the rooming house.

There are no suspects in custody, and homicide detectives spent part of Sunday afternoon knocking on doors along Balmoral Street and scrutinizing the area behind and beside the rooming house.

Felix's death was one of two homicides Winnipeg police grappled with over the weekend.

The other involved the dismembered body of a woman found in garbage bags beside a West End Dumpster.

On Sunday, Felix's family and friends left pink, yellow and white roses in the flower bed where his body was found.

They also left an Easter balloon, candles and a family portrait.

Felix's family is planning a candlelight vigil Monday night on Balmoral at 7 p.m.

Two cases to solve

Winnipeg police spokeswoman Const. Natalie Aitken said the department has devoted additional resources to help manage the weekend's two back-to-back homicide investigations. She said police are trying to gather as much evidence as they can to solve both cases. Overall, Aitken said, it was the busiest weekend police have seen so far in 2012.

"They're very serious, very violent offences that have occurred," Aitken said.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 2, 2012 A3

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